Family meetings cannot yet happen indoors because Covid-19 survives for longer on indoor surfaces than outdoors, NI’s chief scientific adviser has said.
Prof Ian Young also said the R (reproduction) number in NI has not changed, at 0.8.
He believes there is a „high likelihood“ of a second wave of the virus.
On Thursday, ministers decided against further changes to lockdown measures.
Despite being included in step one of the recovery plan, relatives who do not live together are still not permitted to meet indoors.
The chief scientific adviser for Northern Ireland has said th ereason for there being no change is because the virus survives for much longer on indoor surfaces.
„Outdoors the virus survives for a much shorter period of time, in addition there is much better ventilation outdoors than indoors,“ Prof young told BBC Radio Foyle.
He said the virus can remain on indoor surfaces for 48 – 72 hours and believes the science on indoor families gathering is still a step too far.
However, Prof Young stressed that he simply provides advice based on scientific evidence and that decisions on any easing of lockdown restrictions are a matter for the executive.
‘Stick to restrictions in place’
„I think there is a high likelihood of a second wave [of the virus],“ Prof Young said.
„I don’t think it’s completely inevitable, but it would be extremely sensible to plan for it,“ he added.
He said the infection rate has not changed in Northern Ireland and on last calculation, on Thursday, was „still remaining at around 0.8“.
„We need to be sure R remains below 1,“ he added.
The chief scientific adviser said people should adhere to lockdown restrictions that are currently in place.
He advised people to remember to wash their hands, keep good respiratory hygiene and maintaining a two metre social distance from each other.