Executive Statement on Coronavirus Health Regulations.
The Executive has today agreed changes to the Coronavirus Health Regulations to reduce the numbers who can gather indoors and outdoors, including in domestic settings.
Currently up to 10 people from four households can meet indoors and 30 in a garden.
The amendments will reduce the number that can meet indoors to six people from two households.
The number of people that can participate in an outdoor gathering, including in a private garden, will also change from the current 30 people to 15.
Certain events can have more than 15 people attending as long as a risk assessment is carried out and necessary measures are put in place.
This will include weddings, church services and sporting events where a close adherence to social distancing and hygiene regimes continues to apply.
The Executive also agreed some upper limits on gatherings and events that can be introduced quickly depending on the transmission of the disease.
The changes will be introduced next week.
The changes will apply across Northern Ireland, but the Executive accepted that localised measures may be needed in the future to arrest the spread of the virus.
With the transmission of the virus increasing in the community and the R number currently at around 1.3, the Executive agreed that no new indicative dates will be set and no further restrictions lifted.
Ministers stressed the importance of people taking responsibility for their actions and following the public health advice to protect themselves and others.
Washing your hands well and often; practising good respiratory hygiene, keeping your distance from others and wearing a face covering in retail settings and on public transport stops the spreads of the virus and saves lives.
The Executive also encouraged the public to download the StopCovidNI app and if people are displaying the symptoms of the virus, to get tested and to self-isolate for 14 days in the event of a positive result.
Beware – R Factor Is Rising.
The current estimate of R is 1.0 – 1.6
This means R is likely to be around 1.3 at present.
R represents the number of individuals who, on average, will be infected by a single person with the infection.
R does not have a fixed value but varies with time, and is likely to be different every day.
Whenever R is above 1, the epidemic is increasing.
The R number should not be viewed in isolation and must be considered alongside other indicators.
At this stage the number of positive tests per day is likely to be a more important parameter.
The seven day rolling average for new cases has increased and is now at over 40 per day.
There is also likely to be a more widespread increase in community transmission which is a matter of significant concern.
Hospital admissions are increasing very slowly but are still at a low level.
However, they are likely to rise further if cases continue to do so.