Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster has said the reopening of pubs has been "paused" until 1 September.

Speaking this afternoon, she said the 'R' number there is now between 0.8 and 1.8, adding that the chief scientific advisor "probably thinks it is about 1.3".

She also said it appears that younger people are among those testing positive for the virus at the moment which needed to be noted.

From Monday, face coverings are to be mandatory in enclosed spaces in Northern Ireland where social distancing is not possible.

Mrs Foster said retail workers will not have to wear masks, but those going into shops will.

"Because of the concern around the level of community transmission and the desire to frankly prioritise the reopening of our schools ... we have decided that it is prudent to pause the reopening of our public houses," she told reporters.

She added: "I want to acknowledge that the hospitality sector have been working very hard with us, they have been in partnership with us right throughout this issue and this is not a reflection on the hospitality sector, rather it's a reflection on the fact that the R rate has risen, there is a rise in community transmission and we always said there is a need to work together to try and push that down."

She said the moves were about "trying to give confidence to people who feel vulnerable and maybe have been shielding and we are asking the public to work with us and listen to what we are asking them to do".

She said a new "wear one for everyone" campaign will be launched to encourage the wearing of face coverings.

Mrs Foster said she and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill have agreed to set up a "high street task force" through which to address the issues facing the high street. She said they wanted to engage with the sector and deal with challenges facing it.

Mrs Foster said theatres and concert halls can open on a restricted basis from 8 August with an indicative date of 1 September for audiences. She said spectators are permitted to attend sporting events from 10 August.

She said she recognised today's news was "a mixed picture" but asked the public to listen to them and work with them.

Forty-three cases of Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland today and there are "some indications" of a rise in hospital admissions, Mrs Foster said. There were no new coronavirus-related deaths.

Mrs Foster was speaking after a meeting of the Stormont Executive today.

All who arrive in Northern Ireland from Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas will be required from this Saturday to quarantine for 14 days.

The three countries have been removed from the Travel Corridors list due to a continued rise in Covid-19 cases.

The restrictions will take effect from 4am on Saturday 8 August.

Two countries are to be added to the Travel Corridors list, Brunei and Malaysia.

They will be added to the list from 4am on Tuesday 11 August. As a result, quarantine will not be required for anyone arriving into Northern Ireland from these countries.

Meanwhile, more than 20 coronavirus clusters have been identified in Northern Ireland since May.

Of the 23 pinpointed in the region since 25 May when the test and trace programme went live, 11 clusters remain open, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA).

Some 168 cases of Covid-19 have been associated with these clusters, with nine of the clusters having had five or more cases associated with them.

Earlier this week, two businesses in Newcastle, Co Down, closed temporarily following outbreaks among their staff.

The PHA has defined a cluster as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 among individuals associated with a key setting, with illness onset dates within a 14-day period.

Key settings which have seen a cluster include workplaces, retail or hospitality premises, domestic gatherings, and sporting settings, however the PHA said the transmission risk is highest in a household setting.

Since July, the average number of close contacts linked to cases has more than doubled. The rise may be attributed to the gradual easing of lockdown measures, but may also be explained by relaxing of attitudes to social distancing.

Dr Gerry Waldron, head of health protection at the PHA, said: "Clusters are managed through the contact tracing programme, and where we need to advise or inform the public of any increased risk to public health we will do so in a timely manner.

"In the past seven days, five clusters have been identified. Thirty-five cases have been associated with these clusters, with 239 close contacts.

"This should act as a timely reminder that we must not become complacent - coronavirus remains in circulation and we have seen an increase in cases in recent weeks. It is therefore essential that we remember the key advice to help keep ourselves and those around us safe.

"Maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly, and get tested if you display any symptoms of coronavirus."

All children to be back in school by September – NI Executive

Key groups of pupils will return to school within weeks while all children should be back in class by September, the Northern Ireland Executive has agreed.

Revised New School Day guidance will be published next week setting out an updated approach to the full reopening of schools.

Deputy First Minister O'Neill indicated the Executive will discuss further funding for schools next week to help schools reopen, emphasising that parents must be satisfied that schools will be a safe environment.

Education Minister Peter Weir said schools will reopen for staff from next week and for key groups of pupils from 24 August.

He said all children will have returned to school by the start of term, including those in special schools.

He said: "For years one to ten, they will be returning on the basis of protected bubbles of whole classes, and for years 11 to 14 try to minimise movement between classes.

"All the other protective measures that we have put in place and suggested to schools previously remain in place so we are looking after the health and safety of our young people.

"Full guidance will be issued to schools next week. The idea is to try and have the maximum level of social distancing, but the overriding issue is to ensure we have full classes."

Barry Mulholland, chief executive of the Controlled Schools' Support Council (CSSC) gave a cautious welcome to the announcement but said the challenges will be "extensive".

"Let's be clear, the challenges continue to be extensive and complex with a situation that can change on a daily basis," he said.

"To date, collaborative working across all the organisations who support schools has proved effective.

"The reality is that we are asking a lot of our dedicated principals, teachers and support staff. They will need continued support and the understanding of all but most importantly, the trust and support of parents, to implement this new way forward.

"This approach remains the key to achieving the most successful outcomes for all, with children and young people's best interests remaining the central focus."