NI Executive to consider more Covid-19 restrictions

Executive to consider further restrictions after almost 2,000 cases over weekend

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill is self-isolating after a contact tested positive for Covid-19; she has tested negative. File photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill is self-isolating after a contact tested positive for Covid-19; she has tested negative. File photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

 

Almost 2,000 new cases of coronavirus were identified in Northern Ireland over the weekend.

A further 1,066 cases were reported by the North’s Department of Health on Sunday, and 902 on Saturday.

One more coronavirus-related death was recorded on Sunday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 588, the department said.

The North’s Executive is to meet on Monday and will consider the need for further restrictions to stem the number of cases, which continues to rise.

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard told the BBC the spiralling number of cases was “alarming and disconcerting” and this should “focus minds around the Executive table”.

“I think there was a logical and a sense behind local lockdowns, but I now think we’re moving fast into looking at a more generalised lockdown,” he said.

“We need to act. I can’t second guess what the advice is going to be at the meeting from the Chief Medical Officer, but I think the wider public now understand the sort of area we’re in, they’re deeply worried ... I think that’s why we need to see that collective action this week.”

In Derry and Strabane, where localised restrictions were introduced a week ago, 1,426 cases have been confirmed in the last seven days, and the number of cases per 100,000 of population has increased to 946.6.

Belfast saw 1,504 new cases in the last seven days, and the rate per 100,000 is 441. There are also concerns about the rate of infection in Newry, Mourne and Down and mid-Ulster.

A total of 137 people are now in hospital with coronavirus in the North, and 19 are in intensive care.

Meanwhile the North’s Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, has said she is self-isolating after close family members tested positive for Covid-19.

Ms Ní Chuilín, who is an Assembly member for North Belfast, said she had tested negative for the virus but would remain in quarantine for 14 days and would work remotely from home.

The Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, is also self-isolating after a close family member was confirmed to have coronavirus. She has also tested negative for Covid-19.

News Digests

Stay on top of the latest newsSIGN UP HERE