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Stormont’s Finance Minister Conor Murphy has said he does not expect that Northern Ireland will be placed under a Covid-19 lockdown this winter.

Discussions between executive ministers had “not pointed in that direction”, he said.

It comes as more of Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 restrictions are to be eased this weekend.

Mr Murphy said the executive was right to be “cautious” in easing the rules more slowly than other parts of the UK.

In their latest move, ministers have decided that social distancing in pubs and restaurants will become guidance rather than a legal requirement from Sunday.