However, Health Minister Robin Swann – who on Sunday tested positive for Covid 19 himself – warned the public not to “jump the gun” because the epidemic was not over.
He said that yesterday’s announcement was made after the legal advice of the Attorney General and consultation with all the ministerial colleagues.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“With the reduction of the various risks of Omicron, we can move from the emergency and legal framework to a new approach where safe choices can be incorporated into our daily lives,” Mr Swann said. Said
“It means we all do our best to reduce the risk of infection and transmission. It means taking care of each other, following the guidelines for public health.”
“It is important to keep in mind that taking unnecessary risks with Covid can affect people who are particularly vulnerable to the virus.”
“So please don’t jump the gun and start behaving as if the epidemic is over. It is not.
“While the Omicron virus is less severe than previous strains, the community transmission is much higher and the hospital pressure is significant. Do what you can for
Mr Swann continued: “It is possible that the Corona virus will remain with us for some time in some form or another. We cannot maintain the emergency sanctions indefinitely. Much of this already involves guidance rather than rules.
“This includes isolating yourself when you have an infection and taking a lateral flu test before meeting others. The guidance will continue to emphasize all the steps we must take to protect each other.”
“Of course, I will maintain the status quo under the ongoing and detailed review. We cannot rule out a new change emerging below the line with the need for new interventions. I am very hopeful that this will not happen.”
The Health Minister made the announcement yesterday after receiving the latest public health review from the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser.
Minister Swann added: “Public health surveys show that no significant increase in ICU occupancy is expected.
“While many people would welcome my decision on the regulations, I know there will be concerns. Community transmission is still very high and our hospitals are under severe pressure.
“A sustained effort to follow public health guidelines will help reduce the number of infections and help our health care.”
There are no plans at this stage to change the current arrangements for testing, contact detection and isolation in Northern Ireland.
The importance of covering the face will continue to be emphasized in health and social care settings, on public transport and in closed indoor settings.
Although Covid status certification will no longer be required legally in any setting, hospitality and entertainment venues will still be encouraged to use it. Vaccine certification will be available to the public – including those who need it to travel abroad in order to meet the entry requirements of the countries they are visiting.
Health Minister Robin Swann tested positive for Covid 19.