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Health

Northern Ireland to impose strict COVID-19 restrictions from November 27

FILE PHOTO: Closed shops are seen in Belfast following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Northern Ireland is to impose strict COVID-19 restrictions for two weeks from Nov. 27, closing its entire hospitality sector, non-essential retail and places of worship, the British region’s power-sharing government announced on Thursday.

Case numbers in the region have fallen by almost half since it introduced significant restrictions in mid-October, but officials said even stricter “circuit breaker” measures were required to push case numbers down further.

“The executive took the decision to introduce the circuit breaker from next Friday after modelling showed this was the best time to introduce restrictions and avoid the likelihood of further restrictions before Christmas,” the Northern Ireland Executive said in a statement.

Strict restrictions in neighbouring Ireland, where infection levels are less than half that of Northern Ireland, are due to lapse on Dec. 1.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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