NI close to needing localised coronavirus restrictions – expert

Localised coronavirus restrictions in parts of Northern Ireland where cases have surged may soon be required, the region’s chief scientific adviser has warned.

Professor Ian Young’s comments come after Northern Ireland recorded 93 new Covid-19 cases over the weekend.

Prof Young said the rising numbers were of “considerable concern” and represented a tenfold increase on infection rates earlier in the summer.

He said two council areas – Antrim & Newtownabbey and Mid & East Antrim – were particularly affected by surges.

Prof Young added: “I think we’re getting close to the point, certainly in those areas with the high numbers of cases, that we may have to consider whether any additional local measures are required.

“I don’t think we’re at the point where we’d be considering measures across the whole of Northern Ireland because there are still many parts of Northern Ireland where, as a result of public behaviours and other factors, the level of virus remains at a low level.”

The expert adviser said a “one-size-fits-all approach” would not be appropriate when it came to any renewed restrictions.

“We are undoubtedly seeing Covid fatigue and that leads into complacency,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

The total number of confirmed cases in the region since the outbreak began stands at 6,391.

The Department of Health dashboard that collates the coronavirus statistics does not update the death toll over the weekend.

When last updated on Friday, the toll stood at 558.