Northern Ireland pauses pub reopening after spike in COVID-19 cases

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Boris Johnson visits Stormont

BELFAST (Reuters) - Northern Ireland halted its programme of reopening pubs and ordered citizens to wear face masks indoors after reporting the highest number of daily cases of COVID-19 since May.

The British region reported 43 new cases on Thursday compared to a total of 18 in the previous five days.

"Because of the concern around the level of community transmission and the desire to frankly prioritise the reopening of our schools ... we have decided that it is prudent to pause the reopening of our public houses," First Minister Arlene Foster told reporters.

(Reporting by William James, Ian Graham and Conor Humphries; editing by Stephen Addison)