HEALTH Minister Robin Swann has urged the public to make this New Year’s Eve as safe as possible by following health guidance and advice.
“Traditionally this is a time when we look forward with hope and optimism.
"This year we will do the same but that must be tempered by continued caution and awareness that our actions will play a massive part in how we move forward in the weeks and months ahead,” the Minister said.
“We have seen here and across the world that Omicron is presenting us with an increased level of challenge in terms of its level of transmissibility and the spiralling levels of infection within the community.
"This is a time when everyone can play a crucially important part in protecting ourselves, those we care for and our essential health services which are under unrelenting pressure."
The Health Minister added: “Each of us can make a difference by making the right choices. Let’s limit our contacts, prioritise those people who mean most to us and take all the precautions we can before we meet.
"Get vaccinated, be that a first, second or booster dose; take a lateral flow test, wear a face mask, be aware of good hand hygiene and observe guidance and regulations regarding social distancing.
“I know we are all tired and weary after two long years of making great sacrifices and being denied the sort of lives and freedoms which we all took for granted.
"I also know that working together will bring the time closer when we can emerge together from this pandemic.”
Since December 27, the public are strongly advised to limit their amount of social contact with other households.
It is recommended that no more than three households should meet together in a private home.
Remember to keep rooms well-ventilated, maintain social distancing as much as possible and wash hands well and often.