Self-isolation advice for people with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland has been reduced to five days.
The latest guidance from the Ministry of Health further indicates that, as children are less contagious than adults, their self-isolation period is reduced to three days.
The department described the public health response to Covid-19 as “continuing to evolve with a focus on finding the right balance in light of the current risk posed by the virus and the trajectory of the pandemic.”
On Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded that infections in Northern Ireland rose to around 71,000 people, or one in 25 – from 59,900, or one in 30.
Health Minister Robin Swann said while the prevalence is “relatively high”, the risk of serious illness is lower than in previous waves.
“I have always said that I will keep the Covid-19 measures under review,” he said.
“It is clear that after a period of reduction in the number of cases, we are now seeing an increase in the number of cases.
“While prevalence continues to be relatively high, fortunately the overall risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death for those who contract Covid-19 is much lower than in previous waves.
“Having said that, we continue to see severe pressures in our hospitals and the contribution of Covid-19, even though the number of admissions is lower than in previous waves, is adding to these pressures.”
Meanwhile, the availability of lateral flow tests for people with symptoms has been extended until the end of July.
Mr Swann added: “This updated advice aims to strike the right balance at this stage of the pandemic between reducing transmission, protecting vulnerable people and mitigating the disruption caused by longer periods of isolation.
“As we move forward together and continue to learn to live life with Covid awareness, I urge people to exercise personal judgment, act responsibly, and take common-sense action to help stop the spread. from Covid-19 and other respiratory infections.This will in turn help protect those who are most vulnerable.