On Monday, May 18, Northern Irish authorities implemented a partial relaxation of restrictions introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As of Monday, the members of the public will be permitted to meet in groups of up to six people in outdoor areas and can pray alone in churches. Golf courses have also reopened.
Under current restrictions, all individuals are prohibited from leaving their homes except for purchasing food, to seeking medical assistance or for work when working from home is not possible. Nonessential businesses, including pubs, restaurants, cafes, and cinemas, will remain closed with limited exceptions. The Northern Irish government announced on Tuesday, May 12, a five-stage plan for easing COVID-19 restrictions; however, authorities have not provided specific dates as to when the various stages will be implemented.
As of Tuesday, May 19, there are 4401 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 482 associated deaths in Northern Ireland. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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