He was speaking two days before tougher lockdown restrictions come into force for two weeks.
On Wednesday, seven more Covid-19 related deaths were recorded by the Department of Health. One of those was recorded in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.
That brings the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Northern Ireland to 954.
Speaking at a press conference at Stormont, Mr Swann said if everyone here follows the lockdown rules, it will make a difference leading up to Christmas.
“Our actions now will have a bearing on the kind of Christmas we can all have,” he said.
“The greatest gift we can give loved ones this year is to look after them.
“Some restrictions may be relaxed coming up to Christmas but maximum vigilance will still be required – a festive free-for-all would mean a New Year crisis.”
The minister acknowledged the importance of Christmas to many people but said there was “still work to do”, before people could enjoy a break.
He warned that people should also follow the “stay at home” guidance as much as possible to prevent any further spread of the virus.
A total of 533 new positive cases of Covid-19 were also recorded by the Department of Health on Wednesday – 67 of them in Derry and Strabane compared to just eight the previous day.
It said this was higher than normal due to an issue with the “flow of data” from Pillar 2 testing on Tuesday when it recorded just 79 new positive cases acroos the North of Ireland.
There have been 50,676 positive cases here since the pandemic began, with 2,421 people testing positive in the last seven days.
There are currently 443 people with Covid-19 being treated in Northern Ireland, 36 of those are in intensive care units (ICU).
Overall bed capacity within the health service is currently at 98%, with two hospitals – the Ulster and the Causeway – operating beyond their capacity.
The department also reported there are 140 active care home outbreaks of the virus in the North of Ireland with 305 closed cases in care homes.Tags: