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Live Reporting

Jordan Kenny, Ciaran McCauley, Fiona Murray, Colm Kelpie and Nuala McCann

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's us after another busy day of developments. We'll be back with the latest on our live page from 08:00 on Sunday morning, including all the analysis and reaction to the executive's new powers to enforce Covid-19 guidelines.

    Until then stay home, stay safe and wash those hands. Thanks for reading.

  2. Remember those clocks...

    There's been a lot going on but just a quick reminder of some normality - tonight we all lose an hour as the clocks go forward.

    Watch this video of a famous Belfast landmark and you won't forget it in a hurry.

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  3. Sunday Politics: Analysis on the executive's new powers

    It's been another busy day and night, but Sunday Politics will have plenty of analysis on the major developments from 10:15 tomorrow morning.

    View more on twitter
  4. Full regulations published online

    You can read the full 14-page document outlining the new powers agreed by the executive right here.

  5. New regulations come into force across NI

    New powers to enforce guidelines on people staying at home and businesses staying closed have come into force in Northern Ireland.

    The regulations were announced by the NI Executive on Saturday.

    They include the ability to force businesses to shut and crack down on people who leave their homes without a "reasonable excuse".

    Penalties, ranging from fixed penalty notices to fines of up to £5,000, can be issued by police as a means of enforcement.

    Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill

    The powers also ban gatherings of more than two people.

    The new regulations say that reasonable excuses to leave the home include to obtain necessities, such as food and medicine; exercise; to seek medical help; to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person; to donate blood; and to travel for work, where it is not possible for that person to work from home

    First Minister Arlene Foster described the powers as "extraordinary" but said "we are living in extraordinary times".

  6. Off licenses now allowed to stay open

    As part of the new regulations, off licences have been added to the list of essential businesses and can now stay open.

    New guidance was issued tonight on which businesses can stay open and which must stay shut.

    Off license

    A previous list issued by the executive on Tuesday did not include off licences among businesses allowed to open, unlike the rest of the UK.

    Some people had expressed concern, including SDLP MLA Matthew O'Toole who wrote to ministers saying that "responsible drinkers were entitled to have a drink" and that those with alcohol problems could lose access to drink, leading to extra pressure on the health service.

  7. 'Huge decisions need managed in a better way' - SDLP leader

    Colum Eastwood says that while the new powers being introduced by Stormont are "necessary", the announcement should not have been issued by a Saturday night tweet.

    Colum Eastwood

    “The people of Northern Ireland deserve more than a tweet announcing a lockdown and enforcement powers," says Mr Eastwood.

    “This is no time for political games - nor for hiding - the first minister and deputy first minister can’t just hold press conferences Monday to Friday during office hours.

    "Coronavirus doesn’t wait, it doesn’t take weekends off nor do the thousands of doctors and nurses fighting on the frontline."

    The Foyle MP added "those with power and influence" need to use it, saying failure to do so "will be unforgivable".

  8. 'This is not a new direction' - Naomi Long

    The justice minister has said new regulations coming into effect tonight is "not a new direction in terms of what people should and shouldn't do".

    Speaking on BBC 5Live Naomi Long said it will "confer additional powers on the PSNI and others to be able to enforce where people don't comply with that voluntarily".

    Naomi Long

    "We don't want to be in a situation where we need the police or others to be forcing people into taking this action, what we want is for the community and for people to work with us," said Mrs Long.

    "If we work together and if we try to limit our contact, to remain at home where that is possible, to limit the amount of external contact that we have, to ensure that we maintain social distancing where its absolutely imperative that we have to go out - then we can actually try to get on top off this crisis."

    The minister added that by not complying "we are putting our own lives and the lives of others around us at risk".

  9. 'New powers give effect to Westminster emergency legislation' - justice minister

    Justice Minister Naomi Long is speaking with Stephen Nolan on BBC 5Live - she says the new regulations "give effect to the emergency legislation passed in Westminster earlier this week".

    "In order for us to be able to use the powers which were legislated for earlier in the week we have to bring in regulations in Northern Ireland and the executive agreed to do so."

  10. What else do the new regulations enforce?

    New powers coming into place across NI from 23:00 GMT tonight will ban people from leaving home without a reasonable excuse and force certain premises to close.

    But what else will they mean?


    The executive has also agreed that:

    • Anyone who can work from home must work from home
    • Employers must facilitate working from home where it is feasible
    • No employer should compel an employee to come to work if it is feasible to work from home
    • Every employer must take all reasonable steps to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of employees during the Covid-19 emergency, whether working from home or in the workplace
    • Every employer must have particular regard to the safety of employees in the workplace and must put into effect the guidance on social distancing issued by the Department for the Economy
    • Every employer has a legal duty to ensure, so far as it is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees
    • Where a business is failing to observe the Department for the Economy guidance and breaching the legal duty on health and safety, the statutory authorities will take robust action, which may include prosecution for criminal offences
    • Where necessary, the Executive Office will also use its power of direction to close or restrict businesses that do not ensure the safety of their employees.
  11. 'We will use every power we can to ensure people stay home' - O'Neill

    Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill says that "protecting the public, supporting the health service and saving lives are the priorities for the executive during this crisis".

    “Each one of us has a personal responsibility to do everything we can to fight back against Covid-19 for the good of everyone across society.

    "That’s why we are asking everyone to comply with the new measures being introduced today."

    She adds that the executive doesn't "want to get to the stage where people are being fined for being out when they should be at home.

    "But if anyone – even after everything they have heard or seen over the last few weeks – still believes that this does not apply to them, then we will use every power we have to ensure people stay at home so that we save as many lives as we possibly can.”

  12. 'Extraordinary powers for extraordinary times' - Foster

    First Minister Arlene Foster says the executive is asking people to make "fundamental changes to how they live their lives" but that it's all to "keep you safe".

    Arlene Foster

    “These are extraordinary powers for any government to have to introduce, but we are living in extraordinary times," she says.

    “We know the enormity of what we are asking of the public, but it is proportionate to the threat we all face from this deadly virus. No-one is immune.”

  13. BreakingNew enforcement powers come into force in NI tonight

    "Sweeping new powers" will come into force across Northern Ireland tonight at 11pm to combat the spread of Coronavirus, the Northern Ireland Executive says.

    The powers include the ability to force certain premises to close and ban people from leaving home without a reasonable excuse.

    Gatherings of more than two people are also banned.

    Penalties ranging from fixed penalty notices to fines of up to £5,000 are being introduced to enforce the new powers.

  14. Aer Lingus flight lands in Beijing

    Earlier we reported that the first ever Aer Lingus flight to China had left Dublin - the flight is on a mission to pick up much-needed personal protection equipment (PPE) for the Republic and Northern Ireland.

    Aer Lingus flight to China

    According to flight tracking website Flight Radar 24, the plane - named St Ronan - has landed in Beijing Capital International Airport after a nine-and-a-half hour flight.

    It's due back in Dublin tomorrow afternoon.

  15. Enniskillen school bringing protective screens to the frontline

    This past week we've seen plenty of people pitching in to help get as much protective equipment to healthcare workers who need it - now an Enniskillen school's technology department is joining the manufacturing effort.

    St Michael's College says it hopes the device "helps to keep frontline staff safe at this critical time".

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  16. Irish government publish new guidance on essential workers

    Last night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced further restrictions on movement in Ireland with people being instructed to stay home unless they're buying food or their work is deemed essential.

    Tonight the Irish government has published an updated list of people considered "essential service providers" ie those people who, if they cannot work from, can continue to travel to and from work.

    Leo Varadkar

    The list includes healthcare workers, utilities (electricity, gas, water) workers and farmers.

    You can read the full list and guidance here.

  17. Long read: The month everything changed

    Jon Kelly

    BBC News Magazine

    In the space of a month, the United Kingdom has transformed beyond recognition. And most of us haven't had time to stop and take stock.

    One Friday afternoon, when the UK was another country, a chalkboard leaned against the outside wall of a country pub. A message had been written in neat, thin capital letters.

    "Unfortunately a customer who visited us has tested positive for the coronavirus," it read. "So as a precautionary measure we are closing for a full deep clean." It was signed by the landlord and landlady, who apologised for the inconvenience.


    Unlike previous British cases detected up to that point, this person hadn't been abroad recently. As far as anyone knew, he was the first to catch the virus inside the UK.

    At that time, children were still in classroom and adults were still in work. People shook hands and hugged and kissed. In the evening, they went to pubs and restaurants. Some went on dates and others visited elderly relatives. They assembled in groups and mingled with residents of other households.

    In a month, everything has changed.

    You can read the full article here.

  18. Pedestrians only in Derry and Strabane cemeteries

    Access to cemeteries owned by Derry City and Strabane District Council is to be restricted.

    From Sunday, cemeteries will only allow pedestrians access.


    The council say the restrictions are in place to allow social distancing to be implemented.

    "We would urge the public to follow government guidelines in relation to staying at home and urge the public to consider limiting visits to our cemeteries," it says.

    "Whilst we understand that families want to visit the graves of loved ones, the volume of traffic within our cemeteries was causing us concern and was making social distancing difficult."

  19. How to protect your mental health

    The coronavirus pandemic has plunged much of our everyday life into uncertainty and it’s a stressful time for people all around the world for different reasons.

    Mental health

    If you feel like worrying about the virus, or the constant news updates about its spread, is taking a toll on your mental health you can read some useful tips to support your wellbeing here.