NI’s leaders urge caution as latest Covid-19 rule relaxations take effect

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Orton Ireland’s leaders have urged caution as the latest relaxation in coronavirus rules goes into effect.

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From Thursday, 30 people will be allowed in private residences and the requirement for audience members to sit while watching performances in indoor venues will be removed.

However, large house parties and raves will still not be allowed.

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Further relaxations, including a ban on indoor dancing and the reopening of nightclubs, will come into effect from October 31.

This is an important point to reach, and it has taken a determined and united effort across society to get us here

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First Minister Paul Givhan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have urged people to continue to follow public health guidance.

“Over the next fortnight, many of the final restrictions on how we socialize and engage together will be lifted,” Mr Givhan said.

“This is a pivotal point to reach, and it has taken a determined and united effort across society to get us here. I am proud of the powerful, positive community spirit and shared resolve to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“While it is true that we take the slack now granted, we must also continue to do our bit to protect and drive progress. It’s about personal responsibility and whether you’re a customer, employee, student or business owner, keep following the rest of the rules whenever you’re out.”

Ms O’Neill said: “With public support, we have come a long way in our journey out of restrictions and we can all be encouraged by the cautious progress we have been able to make.

“However, we need to remember that the coronavirus still threatens lives, livelihoods and our healthcare, which is facing a very challenging autumn and winter period.

“We have a collective responsibility to continue making choices that will keep our community as safe as possible.

“I encourage everyone to do everything possible to protect themselves and others; open windows and doors; wear a face covering. And the evidence speaks for itself – the single most important thing you can do is Getting the vaccine if you haven’t already.”

The further death of a patient who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 and another 1,471 cases of the virus were reported in Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

There were 374 Covid positive patients in the hospital on Wednesday morning, out of which 33 were in intensive care.

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