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First person in Northern Ireland dies after contracting coronavirus

An elderly patient has died after contracting coronavirus – becoming the first fatality of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

It is understood the patient had an underlying medical condition and was being treated in a hospital in the Belfast area.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I want to express my deep sadness at this death and send my condolences to the patient’s family and friends. It is, of course, essential that we respect their privacy at this sad time.

“I would once again appeal to everyone to play their part in fighting the spread of this virus.”

Earlier this morning, Chief Social Work Officer Sean Holland said people should minimise visits to care homes.

“It’s not a blanket ban at this stage, but certainly I’d ask all relatives and carers to think carefully about going into a home where there are very vulnerable people,” he said.

“Also I think its important that staff in those homes support residents to stay in touch with their families using ways that they may not normally use.”

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