Stormont ministers have delayed final decisions on the majority of Covid-19 relaxations proposed for Northern Ireland next week.

According to the PA news agency, ministers gave the green light to two further relaxations at a meeting today but stopped short of ratifying a series of other planned moves.

From Monday, a cap limiting the number of households allowed to participate in 15-person outdoor gatherings will be removed in Northern Ireland and close contact services, such as hairdressers, will be able to accept walk-in customers.

PA understands ministers have agreed to meet again on Monday and Thursday to consider whether to press ahead with other relaxations that had originally been earmarked for next week.

On Monday, ministers will consider whether to give the green light to steps considered to be moderate risk.

These include allowing theatres and concert halls to welcome back audiences - with some mitigation measures in place - and increasing the limit on gatherings in indoor domestic settings from six to 10, from no more than three households.

Ministers will also consider whether to lift current restrictions on driving test centres.

If the Executive agrees to those measures on Monday, it is understood they would come into effect immediately.

Ministers are due to receive updated health data ahead of their deliberations next week.

On Thursday next week, Stormont ministers are due to consider measures thought to be of higher risk.

These include lifting restrictions on indoor live music, including a proposal to end a requirement for the sound to be kept to an ambient level.

The resumption of conferences and exhibitions will also be considered.

Ministers will also at that point examine a proposal to end social distancing requirements for outdoor activities and reduce the distance to one metre for indoor settings.

The legal requirement on wearing face coverings in places of worship is also set to be reviewed next week.

At this week's scheduled Executive meeting, ministers were alerted to the importance of improving Northern Ireland's vaccination rates.

They were told a 5% increase in uptake of the first dose from 85% to 90% would result in a 50% decrease in cases and hospital admissions at the peak of the current wave of infections.

A further 1,430 cases of Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland today with no further deaths.

There are 162 Covid-19 positive patients in hospital, with 10 in intensive care.