Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Modelling data “shows social distancing works”

Posted by
Friday, May 15th, 2020

The impact of social distancing measures on the spread of Covid-19 has been highlighted in data made public by the Department of Health.

Embed from Getty Images


This data is being regularly collated and assessed by the Department’s specialist modelling group.


Article continues below:


Dear Newry Times reader,

Newry Times has been providing the latest breaking news in Newry and Mourne for nearly ten years now and today we’re asking for your help to keep us doing the jobs we love.

Newry Times relies on advertising from local businesses, local Councils, and hospitality businesses.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic all advertising has ceased.

Your contribution, however small, will go towards revamping the Newry Times website to keep it engaging, informative and high quality.

It will help us pay for freelance journalists and photographers and ultimately help us to continue to provide breaking news to you, our 14,000+ readers.

We will always keep our news content free of charge for everyone in Newry & Mourne to read and we promise to always cover stories that matter to you.

Any donation, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated.

Paul Malone, Newry times Editor




The group is chaired by Northern Ireland’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Ian Young, and includes a number of external experts from the Public Health Agency, Trusts and local Universities.   

The group has access to a number of different models, including locally developed models and several different models developed by leading academic groups elsewhere in the UK.

In addition, it liaises closely with the modelling group in the Republic of Ireland.



Today’s publication by the Department also includes information on the Reproduction (R) Number – the number of other individuals who become infected as a result of contact with a single Covid-19 patient.

It states, “Before the introduction of social distancing almost three other people were infected by each Covid-19 patient in the community (R = 2.8). 

“As a result of social distancing and other restrictions, each Covid-19 patient now infects less than one other individual in the community (R=0.8).

“Hence, we are now seeing a slow decline in the number of community-acquired Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions, ICU occupancy and deaths. 



“In order to ensure that the number of Covid-19 cases remains at the current level or less in the future, we need to ensure that R0 remains at or below 1. 

“If R increases above one there will be an increase in Covid-19 cases and a risk of a second or subsequent wave of the epidemic.

“Any relaxation of the current restrictions will tend to increase the value of R from its current value and it will be important to use every additional measure we can to keep R below one.

“The most important strategy will be an extensive test/trace/isolate programme.



“This identifies contacts of every new case and makes sure that they self-isolate at home until we are sure that they do not have the infection.”


Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE


Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed


This website does not share personal information with third parties nor do we store any information about your visit other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings.

We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on 16/01/2017. If you have any questions feel free to contact Newry Times by emailing

Log in