Northern Ireland's coronavirus lockdown extended to March 5

LONDON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster announced Thursday that coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the region will be extended until March 5 amid surging infections.

It is believed that restrictions may have to remain in place until after the Easter holidays in order to continue pushing down the rate of transmission, according to the BBC.

Northern Ireland entered a six-week lockdown on Dec. 26, with ministers reviewing the situation on Thursday.

Schools are also closed to most pupils in the region until after half-term in February.

The current restrictions are expected to remain in place until March, but according to Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann, it was "possible" they could be needed until Easter, which falls in the first week of April this year.

The latest development came after Britain's coronavirus death toll surpassed the grim milestone of 90,000 on Tuesday.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The British government is only responsible for lockdown restrictions in England. The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own policies in relation to public health matters.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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