With the Easter weekend approaching, please remember that the COVID-19 threat is still present.
Meeting up outdoors whenever possible, is a practical way to keep yourself and others safer.
Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young said: “There are indications that our COVID-19 infection levels have declined a little, while still remaining at a high level.
“I would be hopeful that warmer weather will help to further reduce case numbers, as more people meet up outside. Opting for the outdoors is a proven way to reduce the risks of catching the virus.
“I would again encourage people to keep wearing face coverings, in busy indoor environments where ventilation is poor and particularly when visiting hospitals and other health and care settings and when around people they know to be vulnerable.
“The threat from COVID-19 remains very real. We can see that with the continuing pressures on health services, many of them linked to the pandemic.
“By following public health advice we can help reduce the spread of COVID and support health and social care services.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride also encouraged the public to play their part in easing pressures on services.
He said: “Please do not do anything that might add to the already severe pressures. Please follow public health advice and use services appropriately. Patients and their families can also make an important difference by working with Health Trusts as they plan to discharge someone when they are medically fit to leave hospital. This is vitally important to ensure we can admit and treat other people as soon as possible. Help us to help you.
“It is also essential that people keep coming forward to get vaccinated - and boosted if eligible. The Spring booster programme offers very important additional protection to the 75 plus age group, residents in care homes and those with weakened immune systems.”