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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from us

    Thanks as ever for joining us.

    We'll continue to bring you the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic in Northern Ireland on the BBC News NI website, you can also tune into BBC Newsline shortly on BBC One and BBC Radio Ulster throughout the evening.

    Have a good evening and we'll see you next time.

  2. Today's Stormont briefing: The major moves

    There were two main takeaways from today's Stormont briefing - new rules for face coverings and a "new regime" for penalties.

    First Minister Arlene Foster described Northern Ireland's coronavirus situation as "grave and serious" while announcing the new measures.

    So, what are they?

    As things stand, face coverings are already compulsory on public transport and for customers in shops.

    However, they will now be mandatory in settings including taxi journeys, private bus journeys, in banks and for staff in retail shops.

    And the penalties for those not following the rules?

    People breaching coronavirus regulations will now face a fine of £200.

    Three new offences will also be punishable with a fine of up to £10,000. They are:

    • Not closing a business as required under the regulations
    • Breaching the early closing requirements for hospitality
    • Not implementing measures to maintain social distancing

    The first minister wrapped up her announcement of the new measures by saying it was the executive's preference that rather than face penalties, "people would listen and work with us".

  3. Travel advice change in Northern Ireland

    By contrast to the news from south of the border, Northern Ireland's travel exemptions list has been changed so that people who are returning from Greece (but not Crete or Mykonos) can return to NI without having to self-isolate.

    View more on twitter
  4. All countries wiped from Republic's green list

    Some late breaking news now from the Republic of Ireland, where it's been announced that no countries will be on the country's travel green list from Monday.

    The green list contains countries that people can travel to and from without having to restrict their movements when returning to the Republic.

    Currently, there are four countries on the Green List – Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein - but those will all go by 12 October, according to Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

  5. What the briefing didn't get into (much)

    We had announcements on penalties and facemasks, as well as updates on case numbers in certain areas.

    But, going into today, there was some speculation we could see other measures introduced or discussed in more depth - such as a circuit breaker lockdown.

    A circuit breaker is a lockdown for a short period of time, possibly two weeks, to slow the spread of the virus.

    Economy minister Diane Dodds had said the move would only be viable if extra financial support was provided from Westminster.

    So far, there's been no sign of any money - but, during the briefing, Ms O'Neill said the executive is "united" in approaching the UK government for financial support "to allow us to bring forward measures that will help us deal with this pandemic".

    Ms O'Neill didn't mention a circuit breaker by name, but certainly underlined that stronger restrictions would need extra cash.

    Coronavirus briefing

    Another option open to the executive is more local restrictions, such as those already in operation in Derry and Strabane.

    Case numbers in Belfast and the Newry, Mourne and Down area is around the level Derry and Strabane was at when local restrictions were announced - but there's been no change.

    When asked, the first minister said the virus growth in those areas had been "blunted" while Michelle O'Neill said the curve of the virus in these areas "was starting to stablise".

    In contrast, Mrs Foster said the figures from today for the north west show the virus "continues to grow exponentially".

  6. 'Compliance not more restrictions vital'

    Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill

    Asked about the likliehood of a so-called circuit breaker, Michelle O'Neill says: "Clearly we have big decisions to make and these are not things that will be taken lightly.

    "We're asking people to comply, to work with us to try and prevent the rise in spread that we're all now witnessing."

    First Minister Arlene Foster says that restrictions are not the only way to deal with the rise of infections.

    "The only way to deal with this is for people to comply with the advice, the guidance, the low level of the restrictions that are there at present.

    "Again we are appealing for people to work with us."

    With that, the ministers get their masks and bring the briefing to a close.

  7. People living in poverty 'more susceptible' to virus

    There is "no doubt" people living in poverty or in over-crowded homes are "naturally more susceptible" towards Covid-19, says the deputy first minister.

    Michelle O'Neill made the remarks while calling for analysis of the contact tracing system to "make sure all patterns are identified".

    Ms O'Neill said the Department of Health were looking at what patterns and trends could be identified in relation who is contracting the virus.

    According to Ms O'Neill, 88% of Covid-19 cases in NI were with people aged under 60 years old.

    First Minister Arlene Foster says while "it can be difficult" to carry out analysis of trends "there very much is a need for a piece of work".

  8. Travel advice 'remains' - but Christmas 'will happen'

    The ministers are asked with travel advice in place, what would they say to people from outside NI who would usually travel home for Christmas.

    Michelle O'Neill says that with Halloween, and Christmas, approaching the travel advice still stands.

    "We're asking people not to travel unless it's necessary.

    "We're advising people to keep travel to a minimum as best as you can."

    She also says that 88% of recent cases in NI have been people under 60.

    Mrs Foster adds that it is important for the community in NI to have Christmas to look forward to and that all "the young people out there know that Santa is going to come and we will be able to have a celebration".

    "It might be slightly different," she adds, "but Christmas will happen."

  9. 'All-island approach needed'

    When asked about a possible all-island co-ordinated approach to tackling the virus, Michelle O'Neill says it's something she believes in.

    She says there is strong co-ordination between the chief medical officers north and south of the Irish border.

    First Minister Arlene Foster says co-operation will continue between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

  10. 'We don't want to put people out of work'

    Arlene Foster

    The first minister says she recognises that restrictions are "an imposition on people's way of life".

    Arlene Foster says the executive have to act in "a proportionate and necessary way".

    "We certainly don't want to put people out of work, out of business, we don't want to impact on people's mental health, we don't want to damage young people's life chances anymore than they have been already.

    "All of these things have to be taken into consideration when we make these decisions and certainly we are very conscious of all of that."

  11. Maximum compliance the key, says O'Neill

    When asked about how effective the PSNI has been in enforcing fines and Covid-19 rules, Michelle O'Neill says the executive "wants to bring people with us".

    "The key to us being successful is maximum compliance, if that falls short, we recognise the need for increased enforcement," she says.

    The deputy first minister adds that senior PSNI and local government officials will meet on Friday to talk about how they can co-ordinate enforcement measures.

    She says the executive was looking at proposals to give more powers to local government, to allow for the issuing of improvement notices to retail and hospitality businesses.

  12. Covid-19 breaches: Three new offences announced

    Here's some more details on the "new regime" for Covid-19 penalties announced by First Minister Arlene Foster a little bit earlier.

    People in Northern Ireland caught breaching coronavirus regulations will now face a minimum fine of £200 under plans agreed by the executive.

    Three other offences will be punishable on conviction by a fine of up to £10,000, Arlene Foster said. These are:

    • Not closing a business as required under the regulations
    • Breaching the early closing requirements for hospitality
    • Not implementing measures to maintain social distancing

    "It will always be our preference, rather than face penalties, people would listen and work with us and support our shared effort to save lives," Mrs Foster added.

  13. Virus growth 'blunted' in Newry, Mourne and Belfast

    There's been speculation that local restrictions - already in place in the Derry and Strabane area - could have been introduced today in the Belfast and Newry, Mourne and Down areas.

    But these haven't materialised - this is because, Mrs Foster says, the growth rate in these areas has been "blunted".

    "Unlike the north west the rate of the infection is not running as hard and as fast as it was in that area.

    "Unfortunately, when we look at the figures today in the north west it still continues to grow exponentially.

    "I want to pay tribute to the work that has gone in in Newry and Mourne, and indeed in Belfast, to try to stop the spread of the virus," she adds.

    Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill says the curve of the virus "was starting to stabilise" in Newry, Mourne and Down.

  14. 'We are edging closer to a vaccine'

    Michelle O'Neill

    "This situation is challenging for everyone and we have a difficult few months ahead," Ms O'Neill adds.

    "We know that we're asking a lot of you, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that this will pass.

    "We are edging closer and closer to a vaccine that will give is the protection that we need from Covid-19.

    "Until then you can protect yourself and you can protect others."

    She asks anyone with symptoms to self isolate and book a test.

  15. 'Financial support' being sought from Westminster

    A potentially key line here from the deputy first minister, who says the executive needs to take action to curb the surging number of Covid-19 cases - and must have financial support to do so.

    "That is why we're united in the executive in approaching the British government to ask for financial support to allow us to bring forward measures that will help us deal with this pandemic," she says.

  16. Health staff 'worried for their patients'

    Michelle O'Neill says health staff are very worried for themselves, their families and their colleagues.

    "But most of all they're worried about their patients."

    "We know that you can do this again because lives depend on it," Ms O'Neill adds.

    "It will take all of us and I believe you will work with us and do everything in your power to protect the health service and to save lives."

  17. 'Past the point of warning'

    Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill says in the last week more than 5,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

    "We are past the point of warning, this is real and happening now.

    "We can all make a difference now," she adds.

    She says Northern Ireland now has "a very narrow window to get on top of this situation".

  18. First minister announces new face covering rules and fines

    It's confirmed - the first minister announces an extension to the rules around the use of mandatory face coverings and a new regime for penalty fines.

    Arlene Foster says the executive had considered the "grave and serious situation that we find ourselves" as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in NI.

    Face coverings are already compulsory on public transport and for customers in shops, but will now become mandatory in the following settings:

    • Taxis and private buses
    • For staff in retail shops
    • In public areas of civil services offices such as jobs and benefits offices
    • When boarding a plane
    • In banks, building societies, credit unions and post offices
    • For driving instructors and their students

    She also says the minimum fines for breaches will be raised to £200 and a maximum £10,000 for prohibition notices.

  19. Stormont briefing begins

    Here we go - First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill are at their podiums.

    If you want to watch the briefing live, hit the play button at the top of this page.

  20. Minimum fine for Covid law breach to rise to £200

    Jayne McCormack

    BBC News NI political reporter

    Woman wears face covering
    Image caption: The use of mandatory face coverings in Northern Ireland is also to be extended

    When Mrs Foster and Mrs O'Neill take to the Stormont stage shortly, they're expected to confirm a number of new proposals designed to strengthen Covid-19 restrictions.

    This includes a rise in the minimum fine for breaches to £200 - at the moment fixed penalty notices start at £60.

    BBC News NI also understands that the use of mandatory face coverings will be extended to a number of new settings.

    Face coverings are already compulsory on public transport and for customers in shops, but will now become compulsory in other areas such as for staff in shops, in taxis, in banks and for driving instructors and their students

    The usual exemptions from wearing a face covering will still apply, the executive has said.

    Read more here.