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Covid-19 latest: Four deaths with almost 2,000 positive cases in 24 hours

There have been four further Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland today (Friday).

The total number of deaths now stands at 2,885.

The ABC Borough accounts for 394 – up one – fatalities. There have been 213 – also up one – in the NMD district, while Mid Ulster accounts for 273.

There have been a further 1,908 positive cases recorded from 6,290 people tested in the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health’s latest daily dashboard update. There have been 12,426 positive cases in the last seven days.

There were 231 positive cases in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the second highest in NI. There were 204 cases in Newry, Mourne and Down while Mid-Ulster recorded 139. Belfast – the highest in NI – recorded 327 positive cases.

There are 326 – up two – patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 30 – no change – of whom are in intensive care units. A total of 227 Covid patients have been discharged in the last seven days.

Currently, there are 102 – down four – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 58 – no change – of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital.

There are 13 ICU beds available across Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland currently stands at 102% – down 2%.

Meanwhile, new research shows an increase in shoppers on Northern Ireland’s high streets – as the final countdown to the end of the highly successful High Street Scheme begins.

The scheme will close in 11 days’ time on December 14 and the public is being urged by Economy Minister Gordon Lyons to spend whatever remains on their Spend Local cards as soon as possible.

Already, over £107million has been spent by cardholders across Northern Ireland in the retail, hospitality and service sectors.

Minister Lyons today welcomed new figures published by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) which show a boost to the number of people going into shops or businesses in October being continued in November following the introduction of the High Street Scheme. NIRC has said “the High Street Scheme is truly proving its value”.

The NIRC data shows that, in November, the number of shoppers in Northern Ireland reached their highest point so far compared to the pre-pandemic level. This has led to Northern Ireland showing the best recovery in the UK with -5.2% on 2019 figures.

The equivalent figures for England, Wales and Scotland were -15.7%, -16.7% and -19.8% respectively.

Minister Lyons said: “The aim of the High Street Scheme has been to stimulate local businesses, including retail, hospitality and service sector outlets, which had been hit hardest during the pandemic so I am delighted to see this research published by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium.

“I would once again urge anyone who has yet to activate or use their Spend Local card, to do it now. We want to see every penny possible from every £100 card spent. Spend it now, spend it all and spend it local.”

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