Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Ministers have said they are not recommending an easing of restrictions linked to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill said they are encouraging members of the public to wear face coverings when moving in confined spaces.

At their daily news briefing at Stormont, the two leaders said they hoped to publish detailed proposals for the gradual lifting of emergency measures next week.

Ministers had calls with Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today, and will take part in a Cobra emergency response meeting on Sunday.

Mrs Foster said: "We still believe that they (social distancing regulations) are needed and are proportionate to deal with the threat of the spread of the virus."

The reproductive rate of Covid-19 stands at 0.8 but she said that was still too high.

The First Minister added that specialist advice from the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had concluded "on balance" to recommend the use of face coverings in circumstances where social distancing is not possible.

She warned that people showing complacency about the coronavirus restrictions were lengthening the time before they could go back to normal life.

"If that breaks down, you are prolonging the imposition of these regulations rather than moving to the future."

Ms O'Neill added: "This is about what is right, it is about getting it right, it is about preventing a second wave and making sure that we get it spot on as best we can."

Meanwhile, another four Covid-19 deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Health.

It brings the total number of fatalities to 422.

3,984 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.

Adherence to virus restrictions slipping - police

Adherence to Covid-19 restrictions has slipped over recent weeks, according to the assistant chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Traffic numbers have been increasing week-on-week for the last five weeks, Alan Todd said.

He is warning against complacency this bank holiday weekend, and said outdoor parties involving drink could see social distancing rules flouted.

He said: "There is a significant sense, there is not too much argument, that that has slipped.

"We can see from the traffic numbers on the roads that there has been a week-on-week increase for the last five weeks.

"The number of journeys by private vehicles is increasing."

Mr Todd added: "You can see from the other open source material that more people are travelling more often to more places and that is not all work or shop-related."

He said the discipline of going out to shop once or twice a week has been to some extent lost and good weather was predicted this bank holiday weekend.

"There is concern the temptation creeps into people's lives," he added.

Mr Todd said his officers were acting on behalf of Stormont ministers and enforcing the regulations.

He reiterated his call for other agencies to take on designated responsibilities relating to particular areas like reopened businesses.

Adjudging whether certain firms should be open could be the responsibility of others.

If local councils reopen parks then park rangers could help reinforce the restrictions, the senior officer added.

He said: "It is not normal policing. We are sub-contracted, trying to protect the health service and are designated to do that on their behalf. It is not the standard policing where people are breaking the law."

Additional reporting PA