Northern Ireland's First Minister has said the Stormont Assembly is disappointed it was not given any prior notice of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's announcement of a range of new measures to tackle Covid-19. 

Arlene Foster was speaking after a meeting of the Stormont Executive to discuss its response. 

Schools and universities in Northern Ireland are to remain open and there are no plans to cancel any large scale gatherings. 

The DUP leader and the Deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill, said their decisions are based on medical advice. 

Asked about the Irish Government's announcement this morning, Ms Foster said the Stormont Executive was only given about 10 minutes notice that Leo Varadkar was to make a statement, but was given no information about what he would say. 

"I think that was disappointing," she said. 

Michelle O'Neill acknowledged that the different positions on school closures on each side of the border would create confusion and concern for parents. 

But she said the scientific advice was that the move was not appropriate at this time. 

Arlene Foster said there was a difference as there have been examples of community transmission in the Republic, but none in Northern Ireland at this time. 

Peter Weir, Stormont's Education Minister, said some experts believed closing schools at this time could be counterproductive. 

Here, the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has said "he recognises the differences" on the island of Ireland in the way governments are dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Holohan said: "We have assessed the situation from our point of view and we believe that closing schools is an important part of the strategy for the reasons of ultimately protecting older and vulnerable people from schoolchildren who may not be significantly affected in terms of the illness."