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Northern Ireland won't follow England's approach to easing restrictions, says deputy first minister

Michelle O’Neill branded the UK Government’s approach to removing restrictions “reckless”.

Image: Shutterstock/Leonid Andronov

NORTHERN IRELAND WILL not be following England’s approach to easing restrictions, the deputy first minister has said.

NI Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill branded the UK Government’s approach to removing restrictions “reckless”.

O’Neill said that Northern Ireland “will not be following Boris Johnson’s model”.

In an announcement yesterday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to shortly lift England’s coronavirus regulations despite warning it is “very far from the end” of the pandemic.

He announced an intention to scrap mandatory mask-wearing and lift social distancing requirement, relying on trusting the public’s judgment and the “wall of immunity” offered by vaccines.

The easing is expected on 19 July, at a time when Johnson acknowledged there could be 50,000 new cases detected daily.

Speaking today, O’Neill said the NI Executive will discuss what measures can be relaxed.

However, there are no plans to end the use of face masks.

She said discussions would include what restrictions on travel will apply in coming months.

Similarly, Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said there will be “fundamental differences” between Scotland and England after 19 July, with certain restrictions continuing in Scotland for a much longer time.

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Northern Ireland’s Department of Health recorded a further 417 positive cases of Covid-19 this afternoon.

There were no deaths reported in the North the past 24 hours.

This morning, there were 37 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of who five were in intensive care.

2,079,758 vaccines have been administered in Northern Ireland to date.

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