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Two further Covid deaths as BT60 restrictions come into force at 5pm today

There have been two further Covid deaths reported in Northern Ireland over the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health.

It brings the overall death total to 575.

One of those deaths occurred in the last day with another registered outside the current reporting period.

There have also been a further 163 positive cases in the last days – 763 in the last week alone.

Twenty-one patients are currently in hospital suffering from Covid-19 symptoms, with four of those in Intensive Care Units.

Meanwhile, the BT60 postcode area, which encompasses half of Armagh City, one side of Hamiltonsbawn, and areas like Keady, Markethill, Killylea, and Whitecross, are preparing for tighter restrictions to come into play from 5pm this evening.

Read more: What are the BT60 restrictions and what do they mean for me?

The localised postcode restrictions have been a topic of much debate

Zoe Managh, from Hamiltonsbawn, commented: “As someone who lives in the village in the BT60 area, I think we have been shown a complete lack of interest from the Executive.

“I don’t know of anyone in the area who as a Covid positive test, and I know it doesn’t all come down to that, but we are in a very rural area in which Covid would be less likely to spread.

“My main point in the whole situation, and why I think the restriction borders need reviewed is that we are trying to stop the spread of Covid yet defining it by postcode instead of town or area is meaning that I am using all of the same facilities as those in BT61 around me, yet they are able to have meet ups within houses etc and we are not.

“The postcode border in rural areas does not work as effectively as it would in densely populated areas. If they want our area to be in lockdown, they should have considered putting entire towns/villages in to make it make sense. Otherwise the whole thing is a shambles.”

William Whiteside added: “Honestly cutting places like Armagh and Hamiltonsbawn in half is just mind-boggling – would’ve been far safer putting the whole town under the same restrictions.

“The very fact the pubs are opening next Wednesday where we can sit in tables of six from six different households, yet we can’t go round to each others houses is just madness.”

Jamie Johnston urged people to “use common sense”.

“If you’re on one of the postcode borders then you’re pretty close to it, so make your own mind up to go by the rules or not to,” he said.

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