First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill participated in a COBR call this afternoon with the Prime Minister Boris Johnston and the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales.
The Executive will consider its plan for a phased, strategic approach to recovery at its meeting tomorrow.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “People across Northern Ireland have listened and acted on the public health advice over the last six weeks. They have stayed at home, kept their distance and washed their hands and because of that, they have saved lives.
“We have flattened the curve of infection, reduced the R rate to below one and protected our health service but we are not out of the woods yet. It is important that we continue to follow this advice.
“As the Executive begins to finalise our plans for recovery, we need to strike the balance between continuing to protect lives and the health service and give people hope for the future. The changes that we will introduce will be gradual, proportionate and based on scientific and medical advice and will be taken at the right time and in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Society has changed beyond all recognition over the past six weeks as people have followed the advice to stay at home and save lives. That remains the message.
“As an Executive we know it has been tough and we understand the impact the regulations are having on what was once our normal lives. But we are at a critical stage in the fight against the virus and so our recovery must be phased, gradual and strategic.
“The decisions this Executive will take in the days and weeks ahead are some of the biggest we will ever have to make. We know that six weeks into the restrictions, people need some light at the end of the tunnel. We also know that recovery will only happen one step at a time, to do otherwise risks undermining the sacrifices people have already made and increases the risk of a second spike in the future.”
Notes to editors:
1. R is the parameter used to measure the transmission of the virus. In order to prevent an increase in the COVID-19 epidemic, it will be necessary to maintain R at or below 1, which means that every new case of COVID-19 results in less than one additional new case.
2. For media enquiries, contact The Executive Office: Press.Office@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
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