NI Executive set to discuss ‘phased’ pathway out of lockdown

The Northern Ireland Executive is expected to hold discussions on a phased pathway to recovery this week.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said last week that the pathway out of the coronavirus lockdown will be “criteria-led”, not “calendar-led”.

On Sunday, communities minister Deirdre Hargey said it would be a “phased approach”.

Coronavirus – Wed Apr 8, 2020
Communities minister Deirdre Hargey (Kelvin Boyes/PA)

Sunday also saw the department of health announce another five confirmed deaths of patients who tested positive for Covid-19.

This brings the total number of deaths in the region to 381, according to department figures.

However, the true total is expected to be higher when deaths in the community are added.

Ms Hargey said the executive will meet on Monday, Wednesday and likely Thursday as part of intensive work evaluating lockdown restrictions.

She said details will be published within the next two weeks.

“As we start to ease those restrictions it’s important that we don’t do that too quick in that you reverse the good work that has been done up until now,” she told the BBC.

“We have to gradually introduce those slowly, adhering to the medical advice and looking at the modelling as we start to move through an easement process and indeed that has to be planned and managed.”

She said the lockdown will not be completely lifted and there will still be a “level of social distancing” to guard against a potential second wave of the virus.

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