Northern Ireland extends lockdown until 1 April

Northern Ireland
Victoria Square, Belfast

Northern Ireland has extended its lockdown until 1 April but some relaxations to restrictions will be made on 8 March.

Some primary schoolchildren will begin to return to school from that date (it is also anticipated the same will happen in England) and some retailers classed as non-essential will be permitted to offer Click & Collect.

Retailers of baby equipment, clothing and footwear, and electrical goods will be among those able to offer a collect from store service.

Stormont has said it will review its lockdown restrictions again on 18 March.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to release a roadmap to release the UK from lockdown on 22 February and he is discussing with the devolved nations about whether there will be a unified approach.

Both Wales and Scotland will allow some schoolchildren to return from Monday 22 February with children in England having to wait two further weeks.

Non-essential retail is expected to be the first of the locked-down industries to re-open, however a date has yet to be said and Johnson has cautioned against attaching too much credence to speculation in the press.

Various media outlets have suggested stores will be re-opened after Easter with hospitality to follow in May, but the Prime Minister will only say that any re-opening will be cautious and, he hopes, “irreversible”.

Today the UK recorded 12,057 cases of the virus, down 1,437 week on week, and a further 454 deaths, down 224 week on week. Some 24.6% of the population have now received at least one dose of vaccine.