Coronavirus: Concern over ‘more lax attitude to lockdown’

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There have been 294 coronavirus-related deaths in NI

The health minister says Northern Ireland’s biggest threat in the fight against Covid-19 is complacency.

Robin Swann said he was concerned people were becoming more lax over the lockdown rules and were “starting to ease up on their responsibility”.

There have been 294 coronavirus-related deaths in NI.

He said the executive was working on what steps they could take to return to a sense of normality over the coming months but there would be no timetable.

“I think it will encourage a greater sense of ease and complacency if people think ‘well, if it’ll be alright in two weeks so it’ll be alright today’,” he told the BBC.

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Health Minister Robin Swann says now is not the time to become complacent

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday with Steven Rainey show, Mr Swann said: “These are tough times and tough asks but the reason we’re asking people to respect these draconian asks is to save lives.

“We don’t have a medical cure for cabin fever but we are asking people for goodwill and determination over the next few weeks to help save lives and to help our health service.

“Rather than people just standing at their front door on a Thursday night, clapping in support of the NHS, people should think before leaving their house – ‘Is this journey necessary? Do I really have to step my foot outside the front door?’

“My job as health minister is to keep the number of deaths here as low as possible but everyone has their part to play.”

Mr Swann’s advice comes after it was revealed that restrictions on movement to stop the spread of coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland may not apply to day trippers from Northern Ireland.

 
 

According to RTÉ News, Gardaí (Irish police) in the border region have been ordered not to arrest anyone from Northern Ireland for suspected breaches of the Covid-19 regulations.

It is thought this is due to a gap in government emergency legislation.

But the Department of Health in the country has insisted there is no anomaly with the regulations.

It accepts however that an issue could arise where someone from Northern Ireland was travelling to their temporary residence but said the department was always aware of that issue, and points out there is also movement restrictions in Northern Ireland.

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