The Executive has today thanked the public for their ongoing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, with health data indicating that case numbers are likely to be at or around peak in this Omicron wave.
The impact of Omicron continues to be a matter of concern. Community transmission will remain high over the coming weeks. Hospital pressures are severe and it will take more time to determine when they have peaked. So we are asking everyone to keep doing all they can to protect themselves, protect others and protect the health service.
The increasing evidence that Omicron is considerably less severe than previous variants of the virus is welcome. However, the transmissibility of Omicron, which has resulted in very high numbers of cases across the community, is hugely disruptive. Our workforce, essential services and the economy will remain under significant strain for a number of weeks.
We again urge everyone who is eligible to get the booster vaccine. The evidence shows that this third dose provides vital additional protection from the virus and dramatically reduces the chances of getting seriously ill with COVID.
Wearing a face covering in public indoor spaces is a vital measure in preventing the spread of COVID, and it is a legal requirement. We are asking everyone without a genuine medical exemption to do the right thing. Wear a face covering to protect yourself and those around you.
Please keep making the safer choices that we know are effective:
- Get your vaccines, including your booster;
- Limit your contacts with other people;
- Take regular lateral flow tests, particularly before meeting others, and report the result online;
- Work from home if possible;
- Wear a face covering in indoor public spaces;
- Meet outdoors when possible;
- If meeting indoors, make sure the rooms are well ventilated; and
- Practise good hand and respiratory hygiene.
The current package of measures to manage the Omicron variant remains in place and we continue to keep the situation under close review.
Energy Payment Support Scheme
The Executive has also agreed a £55million support package for vulnerable people struggling with home energy costs. The Energy Payment Support Scheme, which was brought forward by the Communities Minister, will make a payment of £200 to eligible people.
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