Contact tracing rate of 80% achieved in North without use of app

Any app introduced in the North will be compatible with that in the Republic, minister has said

About 80 per cent of those who came in contact with people who tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland in May and June have been traced.

The North's health minister, Robin Swann, told the Northern Assembly on Tuesday that 481 cases were added to the Covid-19 contact tracing database in those months and more than 700 contacts were traced.

He said there were currently 92 contact tracers who could trace an average of five contacts per day.

A contact tracing app is not yet in operation in the North, but the app launched in the Republic on Tuesday can be downloaded in Northern Ireland and users can activate the contact tracing facility.


Mr Swann has previously said contact tracing is operating on a cross-border basis, and any app introduced in the North will be compatible with that in the Republic.

No further coronavirus-related deaths were reported by the North's Department of Health (DoH) on Tuesday. Five new cases of coronavirus were identified, bringing the total to 5,761 cases.

In the last seven days, 26 people have tested positive for the virus, according to the DoH. Eleven of these new cases were in the Newry, Mourne and Down council area.

Glasswater Lodge care home in Crossgar, Co Down, confirmed on Tuesday that it had decided to remain closed to visitors because of an outbreak in the area, and a cafe which had recently reopened its premises announced that it would close again.

Cafe Q in Crossgar said on Facebook that "due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in our area we are taking the serious decision to close our sit-in for a few weeks to ensure the safety of staff and customers".

It said no members of staff had been affected and “we want them to stay this way and ensure that our customers also remain healthy”.

The BBC reported that up to 16 people from several families had tested positive for the virus in the Crossgar and Ballynahinch areas of Co Down.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) said it had "not identified any current clusters other than household related infections in the Newry, Mourne and Down area.

“With some ongoing community transmission of Covid-19, it is expected that there will be variation in the number of cases detected across geographical areas, and with small numbers of cases, we must be cautious about the significance of these variations,” the PHA said.

Freya McClements

Freya McClements

Freya McClements is Northern Editor of The Irish Times