Lockdown extended by 3 weeks in Northern Ireland – paving way for the rest of the UK


The First Minister confirmed that the nationwide shutdown would continue and people need to remain “on their guard”.

Northern Ireland’s lockdown will continue for another three weeks, Arlene Foster has announced

The four nations of the United Kingdom have been working together on the coronvirus response – and have made joint decisions so far.

Dominic Raab is expected to make an announcement tomorrow on the continued measures, and it’s all but confirmed that England, Scotland and Wales will carry on with them too.

He said last week ministers “don’t expect to make any changes” as the UK hasn’t yet reached the peak of cases.

The measures will be reviewed again in the coming weeks, she said this afternoon, but they aren’t going to do it right now.

“We are not at that stage yet, but what we will be doing in the executive will be planning for the recovery and of course it’s right that we need to plan for the recovery,” she told the nation.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill added: “Lives are being saved by these measures.

“We cannot be complacent and we must keep going for this for as long as we need to,” she told the daily Stormont briefing.

“Keeping these measures in place remains a necessity.”

In Northern Ireland there are just over 2,000 cases of coronavirus, and 140 deaths.

Ms Foster is expected to join the UK Government and other members of the devolved administrations at a COBRA meeting tomorrow to discuss formally extending the lockdown across all four nations.

No10 said this morning that the four devolved nations are “working very closely together” during the pandemic and it’s expected that all the nations will stick to the same approach.

But they can break off and do different measures if they want to.

It’s expected that the lockdown will continue into the beginning of May at the very earliest.

Experts have said we are not yet ready to look at relaxing any measures yet as the number of deaths is still high.

Only once they start to plateau and fall down will they be able to seriously consider relaxing them, they’ve stressed.

Matt Hancock will address the public at No10’s daily press conference this evening in London.

The UK is on course for as many deaths as Italy at the moment, as the numbers continue to add up.

Ministers think Britain is still some days away from the peak.

A gradual approach to getting back to normal is expected, rather than reversing all the measures in one go.

But the chancellor is keen to re-open parts of the economy to avoid a complete meltdown.