The current lockdown rules in Northern Ireland remain in place until 28 May, but from today (Mon 18 May) some aspects of the first stage of the Executive’s plan have taken effect with more coming this week, plus UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced in Parliament that everyone in the UK aged five and over with symptoms can now be tested for coronavirus.
This came after a statement from the four UK Chief Medical Officers that a loss of smell – anosmia – should be added to the main other symptoms of a new continuous cough or fever. Anosmia can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
Previously in Northern Ireland testing has only been offered to key workers, hospital workers and care home residents.
Here, from Tuesday 19 May, some other activities will be permitted again in addition to angling, including water sports, golf and tennis. Groups of up to six people, who do not live in the same household, will also be permitted to meet outdoors from tomorrow, as long as social distancing rules are still followed. Garden centres and recycling centres were also permitted to open from today.
Churches may open for individual private prayer, while drive-in church services, drive-in cinemas and drive-in concerts are also permitted, however there is no change to the restriction on meeting family members from a different household indoors – even if social distancing is possible.