Further restrictions placed on Derry and Strabane areas

Further restrictions placed on Derry and Strabane areas
Ciara Maguire

Reporter:

Ciara Maguire

Email:

ciara.maguire@strabaneweekly.co.uk

THE NI Executive has just announced a series of new restrictions for the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

At this afternoon's meeting of the NI Executive, ministers discussed the increasing cases of coronavirus across the district.

First Minister Arlene Foster said the area is "in an urgent situation".

The rate of postive cases is "well in excess" of 300 per 100,000 she said and "well above" the average of other areas.

The R rate is calculated at two or higher.

In a bid to curb the spread, the council district will be placed under tighter restrictions than the rest of NI.

Among the range of restrictions announced include:

* All unncessary travel within or to and from the council area is to be avoided. Where journeys are necessary, the advice is to walk, cycle or use private transport.

* Hospitality businesses are limited to takeaway, delivery and outdoor dining.

* Residents are also strongly advised to work from home where that is possible.

* Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions will be closed but schools and other educational settings will remain open.

The new restrictions will come into force from next week and are expected to last a fortnight but the public is being urged to comply immediately.

"This is by no means a lockdown," said Mrs Foster.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill added: "This is an emergency and requires emergency action."

Derry and Strabane currently has one of the highest COVID-19 rates in the UK

West Tyrone SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan says the restrictions are necessary and that the public have to listen.

“These additional restrictions are necessary given the spread of COVID-19 locally and the huge increases in infection rates in the past few weeks.

“The Executive have now acted to ensure the spread of the virus is limited and to ensure the vulnerable in our community are protected," he said.

“Some of these measures will have a financial impact on businesses and it is important these businesses are protected. I welcome the fact the Executive is looking at a financial support package for them.

“I would encourage everyone to adhere to these guidelines and to ensure that they are doing their part in curbing the spread.

"The basic messages around washing your hands, social distancing and wearing of face coverings are as important as ever.”

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