RESIDENTS in the BT60 postcode, which takes in part of Armagh city, Markethill and Keady, have been urged to follow public health advice as greater restrictions are set to come in place from 5pm tomorrow (Friday).
The announcement was made by Health Minister Robin Swann in an urgent written statement to the Assembly.
He said, "Today I informed Executive colleagues that the postcode BT60 is now significantly above the previously agreed threshold of 80 positive cases per 100,000 for imposing localised restrictions, and all cases at this time appear due to household or community transmission.
"My Department will therefore be adding BT60 to the areas under local restriction.
"It is my intention that the restrictions for this postcode will be underpinned in regulation and be effective from 5pm Friday, September 18.
"It is expected that the impact of these restrictions on transmission will take around two weeks to become apparent.
"These restrictions will be retained only as long as they are deemed necessary and proportionate.
However I would remind Members that local restrictions may need to be introduced urgently in further areas in response to spikes in incidence. I will endeavour to try to keep the House informed of those decisions, even through regular short written statements.
The restrictions mainly relate to household gatherings:
Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has said he is concerned as the number of local COVID-19 cases accelerate.
The Newry and Armagh MLA said, “It is a matter of great concern that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in BT60 has exceeded the agreed threshold of 80 positive cases per 100,000 for imposing local restrictions.
“The Chief Medical and Scientific Officers have now advised the Executive that local restrictions should be brought into effect, with restrictions coming into place from tomorrow at 5pm.
"While these restrictions will be undoubtedly tough for local residents in this part of Armagh, they are necessary and in the best interest of the community.
“I am encouraging residents in BT60 to follow the public health advice – by doing so, you will help prevent the further spread of the virus and ultimately save lives within our community.”
Last week people living in Ballymena town, those who live in the Belfast council area and with postcodes which take in areas north east of Ballymena, and parts of Glenavy, Lisburn and Crumlin were subject to greater restrictions.