Northern Ireland lockdown extended until April 1

18 February 2021, 15:19 | Updated: 18 February 2021, 15:32

A woman cycles past a closed pub in Belfast during Northern Ireland's lockdown
A woman cycles past a closed pub in Belfast during Northern Ireland's lockdown. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Stormont executive has agreed to extend Northern Ireland's current lockdown to April 1.

Primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 will return to classes on March 8.

Pupils taking exams will return on March 22. There will be another review of the measures on March 18.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said the reopening of schools is going to be on a phased basis and will likely start from March 1.

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Mr Martin told Live 95 Limerick radio show: "We will be having a meeting today with the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19.

"Nphet (National Public Health Emergency Team) will be making a presentation to us.

"We will be reopening schools on a phased basis. The indications are it will likely be at the beginning of March.

"The public health authorities want to do this on a gradual basis because they want to monitor the impact of increased mobilisation of people on the spread of the disease.

"Too many people coming back at the one time is just not possible because of the impact, given the nature of the variant that we now have, which is highly transmissible and more dangerous."

He said the Government is hoping to have junior infants, senior infants as well as first and second class back in school on a phased basis from next month.

"We have to decide on that definitively today and make recommendations to the Cabinet, which will meet next week and we'll announce that next week," he added.