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15 Apr 2020 | 01:49 PM UTC

UK: Northern Ireland extends restrictions until May 5 due to COVID-19 /update 17

Authorities in Northern Ireland announce the extension of nationwide restrictions through May 5 due to COVID-19; follow government directives

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Event

On Wednesday, April 15, the Northern Irish government announced a three-week extension to the current nationwide restrictions in order to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measures, originally put in place on March 28, include a series of quarantine restrictions.

Per the directive, all individuals are prohibited from leaving their homes "without a reasonable excuse." Nonessential businesses, including pubs, restaurants, cafes, and cinemas, will remain closed with limited exceptions. Additionally, gatherings of more than two people outside of the same household remain banned, except where the gathering is "essential for work purposes." Those found in violation of the measures will be subject to a fine.

As of April 15, 1967 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Northern Ireland, as well as 134 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks. 

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.