Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    That's all from us today - you can keep up to date with all the latest on our news website, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Newsline.

    See you next time.

  2. Covid briefing rundown

    Now that the press conference is over, here's a look at some of the key points that emerged:

    • The reproduction rate of Covid-19 has been reduced to between 0.7 and 0.9 in Northern Ireland
    • As of yesterday, 102,701 people - almost five percent of the population - have been vaccinated
    • In 97% care homes, residents have received their first dose, while in 72% of care homes a second dose has been administered
    • Airline passengers arriving into NI from outside the UK and Republic of Ireland will soon have to produce a negative Covid-19 test before departure
    • Stormont ministers have "vented their frustration" that there has not been progress on sharing passenger locator forms between the executive and the Irish government, with the issue to be raisd with Taoiseach Micheál Martin
    • The PSNI are issuing around 40 penalty notices each day over Covid-19 breaches
  3. 'Increased police visibility' right across the country

    Meanwhile, in one of the press conference's final questions, Mr Byrne defended the visibility of PSNI enforcement saying it has "run vehicle check points" right across the country when it has needed to.

    Covid-19 press conference

    He added: "We are doing our bit to enforce the regulations, certainly in the last weekend, you only have to look to our social media accounts frankly to show how we increase visibility right across the country."

    He added that police will use insight to view where traffic flows are the highest, and when people are heading to popular beauty spots.

  4. Foster not making any predictions on an end to restrictions

    First Minister Arlene Foster says she does not have a "crystal ball" when it comes to predicting if restrictions will ease in Northern Ireland from February.

    "None of this is inevitable," she suggests, highlighting that ministers will be advised by the medical and scientific advice.

    NI is currently in a six-week lockdown which began on 26 December.

    Arlene Foster

    As a result of the executive's action, Mrs Foster says "we are seeing the benefits" with a reduced transmission rate and fewer positive cases, however, she says better hospital numbers will come.

    The improving picture should give people "heart", the minister adds.

  5. Cancelled surgery 'not sustainable' long term

    Michelle O'Neill expresses regret that a number of health trusts have had to turn down treatment to red flag cancer patients, and adds that it is not a "sustainable position to adopt".

    "We understand that while the health service has to respond to the issue of Covid, everyone else doesn't stop suffering with other different illnesses."

    She stresses that this is why "we all have a part to play to take the pressure off the health service so they can respond to Covid patients and everybody else".

  6. Assembly business could go virtual

    Michelle O'Neill

    Michelle O'Neil suggested assembly business will increasingly happen virtually in the weeks ahead.

    "Obviously in previous waves we scaled back assembly all these things we have to legislate, but where possible, we're asking members to stay at home."

    She says the executive has asked the speaker to look into the issue.

  7. 'Vast majority of people are complying'

    Chief Constable Simon Byrne

    Responding to a question about police enforcement, Mr Byrne says that although the police are there to upload the law, he says he's pleased with the overall cooperation with people not breaking the rules.

    He went on to say that "although 40 people a day have broken the rules since the start of the restrictions, we need to remember the vast majority of the public are adapting how they're going about their lives".

    He added: "Be assured that when we go into people's homes and there is blatant disregard of the rules, which are now very clear to people, we will take action.

    "We will use powers given by the executive to enforce the law."

  8. PSNI issuing 40 penalty notices per day

    PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne started his comments by saying that police are issuing around 40 penalty notices each day.

    He went on to thank the "vast majority of the public" who are complying with the government guidance and regulations.

    He added that "what you do today and the choices you make, affect the speed when our life can return to the normality we all cherish.

    "We won't turn a blind eye when people break the rules."

    He went on to warn that if people are breaking the rules and having house parties, they can expect "firm and swift enforcement".

    Chief Constable Simon Byrne

    Earlier, Mrs Foster said she found it "ncredible" and "frankly unbelievable" that some people continue to host house parties and social gatherings "at this time".

    She says other people are "fighting hard to give everybody a chance to live".

    The first minister says police have a role to "inform and encourage the public" to adhere to the rules and regulations.

    She says officers also have a role to put a stop to "reckless behaviour".

  9. Ministers to raise passenger locator forms with taoiseach

    Ministers have "vented their frustration" that there has not been progress on sharing passenger locator forms between the executive and the Irish government, Arlene Foster says.

    The first minister says the forms are important to monitor travellers who enter Northern Ireland from the Republic.

    "Ministers have asked us to elevate the matter and raise it again urgently with the Taoiseach," she tells the briefing.

    Mrs Foster describes it as a "long-running saga".

    Michelle O'Neill says a "two-island" approach is needed in terms of travel.

    "The common travel area does serve us well and has done for years, but we need heads of government to come together so we have agreed to pursue meetings with the taoiseach, the prime minister and ourselves and that needs to happen as a matter of urgency," says Ms O'Neill.

  10. Nearly five percent of NI's population now vaccinated

    Michelle O'Neill

    Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill says praises the team behind NI's Covid-19 vaccination programme. She says nearly five percent of the population have now been vaccinated.

    "We have teams of people working seven days a week and I want to commend them," she says, adding that 97 per cent of care home residents have been vaccinated with their first dose and 72 percent have received their second dose.

    "I think that's a really remarkable," says Mrs O'Neill.

    Earlier, Mrs Foster hailed the roll-out as being one of the most progressed vaccine programmes in the world.

  11. First minister confirms pre-departure travel tests

    Arlene Foster confirms that passengers arriving into NI from outside the UK and Republic of Ireland will soon have to produce a negative Covid-19 test before departure.

    She says the executive agreed to the plan earlier today.

    The move has already been agreed in the Republic of Ireland.

    Belfast International Airport

    "This means that anyone arriving into Northern Ireland who has been outside of the common travel area within the previous 14 days must have evidence of a negative test in the last 72 hours," says Mrs Foster.

    There will also be a requirement to self-isolate for 14 days "on all such passengers", Arlene Foster continues.

  12. More than 102,000 people vaccinated in NI

    Arlene Foster says, as of yesterday, 102,701 people have been vaccinated in Northern Ireland against Covid-19.

    In 467 of 483 care homes, residents have received their first dose, while in 72% of care homes a second dose has been administered.

    Reflecting on progress in driving down the transmission rate of the virus in NI, Mrs Foster says: "This success, important as it is, does not alter the scale of the challenge that is ahead of us.

    "What it does do is it gives us time, time for us to push ahead with our strategy to protect you and your loved ones."

    She described the UK's vaccination and testing programmes as "world-class".

  13. R-rate 'below 1' in NI

    The reproduction rate of Covid-19 has been reduced to "between 0.7 and 0.9" in Northern Ireland, First Minister Arlene Foster says.

    "Together over this last number of weeks we've been able to break pathways of transmission and to slow the spread of the deadly virus in our community," Mrs Foster tells a media briefing in Dungannon.

    Arlene Foster

    The case doubling rate in NI is now 55.5 days, the first minister adds.

    She says the UK average is 39 days.

  14. First and Deputy First Minister's press conference begins

    Arlene Foster, Michelle O'Neill and Chief Constable Simon Byrne are at their podiums in Dungannon.

    Hit the play button at the top of this page to watch live.

  15. NI economy expected to stall after record growth

    Belfast City Centre

    Northern Ireland's economic output grew by a record 15.5% in the three months to last September, following a record 14% drop the previous quarter, according to official figures.

    The NI Composite Economic Index, considered to be the local equivalent of GDP, was released on Thursday.

    Despite a pick-up in activity, it was still 2.9% lower than the same time the year before.

    The figures coincide with a period when Covid-19 restrictions were eased.

    Read more here.

  16. Belfast's St Patrick's Day parade cancelled for second year

    St Paddy's Day parade

    Belfast's annual St Patrick's Day parade and concert have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Belfast City Council has confirmed.

    It is the second year in a row festivities have been called off due to coronavirus.

    Meanwhile, Derry City and Strabane District Council said how St Patrick's Day will be celebrated there is currently "under review".

    Both councils cancelled their parades in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

    Read more here.

  17. Latest on the vaccine roll-out

    Here's more latest figures from the Department of Health, although these ones are more welcome - more than 121,000 vaccine doses have been administered in Northern Ireland, it says.

    On Wednesday, the figure stood at 109,256.

    View more on twitter
  18. NI Executive plans international traveller testing

    Belfast International Airport

    A plan to make international arrivals into NI produce a negative Covid-19 test before departure is being considered by the Stormont executive.

    The proposal has been submitted by Health Minister Robin Swann.

    Last week he said he had agreed "in principle" to the move but details were being worked out by officials.

    People arriving from countries not on the government's travel corridors list will also still have to self-isolate for 10 days.

    Read more here.

  19. Latest figures indicate 16 new deaths

    On Thursday, 16 more deaths related to Covid-19 were reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, bringing its total to 1,533.

    Deaths graphic

    There have been 973 new cases diagnosed in the past 24 hours, while 58 Covid-19 patients are being treated in ICUs across Northern Ireland, of which 44 are on ventilators.

  20. Hello and welcome

    First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne are set to give briefing on Covid-19 developments in NI after 4pm.

    You can watch live by hitting the play button at the top of this page. We'll have text updates on all the latest right here.