PEOPLE of Tyrone are being urged to consider the new restrictions and rising number of cases as a stark “wake up call” as over 250 cases were confirmed locally in a week.
Over the past week, the number of positive Covid19 cases in Tyrone have been rising at an alarming rate with 253 cases confirmed within the three council areas which cover the county.
Figures have revealed there have been 35 positive cases of the virus identified in the Fermanagh and Omagh area from September 16 to September 22 – a total of 258 cases in the area.
The number of cases in Derry City and Strabane have skyrocketed with 184 cases identified since last Wednesday. The total number of cases in the area now stands at 546.
Mid Ulster council area which covers Dungannon has also seen a rise in cases with 34 confirmed in the past week taking the total number of cases to 513.
Yesterday (Wednesday), the Department of Health recorded 220 positive cases in the North – the second-highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
The rising number of cases prompted an unscheduled Executive meeting which led to the introduction of new regulations around home visiting.
The restrictions, which came in effect on Tuesday evening, prohibit the mixing of households in private dwellings.
A number of exemptions were made including bubbling with one other household, caring responsibilities including childcare, building or maintenance work, a business operating from home; supported living arrangements, visits required for legal or medical purpose, a funeral, a house move, or a marriage or civil partnerships where one partner is terminally ill.
Outdoor gatherings have also been advised against with no more than six people allowed to meet in a private garden from no more than two households.
In a live televised address on Tuesday night, Mrs Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill called for a “big push” to curb the alarming rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Over 1,000 cases have now been reported in the past week, and pleading for co-operation, Mrs Foster said Northern Ireland is now reporting the highest number of cases since the early stages of the pandemic, with a 50 percent rise in hospital in-patients over the past week.
“We need to act.
“But I want to reassure you, that despite all the headlines, this is not a second lockdown.
“This is a wake-up call. A reminder that we are not out of the woods.
“As I have said before, this is not a lockdown, in fact these actions are designed to prevent the need for a return to lockdown.
“Wash your hands. Keep distanced and wear a mask. All these small steps will help,” said Mrs Foster.