Health Minister Robin Swann has urged everyone across Northern Ireland to keep themselves safe from Covid-19 over the Easter period.
“Once again, we are facing a holiday weekend with restrictions on our lives,” the Minister said.
“I totally understand the widespread frustration and indeed share it. But I would appeal to people not to let their frustrations affect their judgement. These restrictions are in place to protect us from a vicious virus that has brought great tragedy to so many families.
“When we are following them, we are helping keep ourselves and others safe – and helping our community get to a better place.
“We are continuing to make good progress. The statistics on Covid-19 have been moving steadily in the right direction and more than three quarters of a million people in Northern Ireland have received their first vaccine dose.
“We are on a pathway towards gradually easing restrictions. The return of schools and expansion of outdoor activities are the first careful steps on this route map. Some regulations have been eased this week, and more welcome decisions will steadily follow if we can keep Covid-19 infections down.
“But it’s still important to follow the basics. That includes maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing hands frequently and well. Stay at home as much as possible and stay local when you are enjoying the great outdoors. Avoid crowded places, especially where it would be hard to keep your distance from others.
“Make fresh air your friend this Easter weekend – outdoors is much safer than indoors. Please please don’t mix indoors with people from other households.
“I want to thank everyone once again for all they have done over the past year to help repel Covid. We still need to keep our guard up for this next period, as we look forward to summer.”
The Department has also today issued a factfile, https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/ive-just-had-vaccine-what-can-i-do-now, advising people who have received the vaccine to keep following public health advice on the Covid-19 threat.