Northern Ireland to apply COVID-19 restrictions across province

FILE PHOTO: First Minister Arlene Foster of the DUP speaks in the Great Hall in the Stormont Parliament Buildings in Belfast, Northern Ireland, January 13, 2020. Liam McBurney/Pool via REUTERS

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Northern Ireland will apply restrictions imposed in some areas 10 days ago to the whole region in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and is open to considering collective action across the United Kingdom, First Minister Arlene Foster said on Monday.

From Tuesday, households will only be allowed to mix with one other select household indoors while no more than six people from two households can gather in a private garden. However pubs that only serve drinks are still scheduled to open on Wednesday, Foster said.

“We are seeing substantial increases (in COVID-19 cases) across large parts of the province now. It is clear that without the right action right now, there is a real risk of a continued and increasing spread... Doing nothing is not an option but neither is returning to full lockdown,” Foster told a news conference.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Gareth Jones