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20 Nov 2020 | 12:19 AM UTC

Authorities to tighten COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland from November 27

Authorities to tighten COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland from November 27; follow authorities’ directives

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Event

Authorities in Northern Ireland announced that they will reintroduce stricter restrictions for two weeks from midnight on November 27 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. During this period non-essential retail businesses and the hospitality sector must close. Schools will remain open and places of worship will be able to open only for funerals and weddings. The restrictions intend to act as a circuit breaker and an attempt to avoid the necessity of tighter restrictions during the Christmas holidays.

As of Thursday, November 19, there have been 1,456,940 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom with 53,870 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

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 (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

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

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

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 risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with 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.