There have been a further five further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Tuesday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with all five passing away inside that period.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 2,041.
Of those deaths, the ABC Borough accounts for 272 – three more than Monday – Newry, Mourne and Down District the same at 157; and Mid-Ulster, also no change, with 188.
There were a further 225 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 36 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the second highest in NI. There was a further 18 in Newry, Mourne and Down and 27 in Mid-Ulster.
A total of 1,841 individuals were tested.
There are 376 – 10 less than yesterday – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 48 of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 22 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
A total of 127 – 15 less than yesterday – Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area – with 71 in Craigavon; 18 in Daisy Hill, 33 in Lurgan, five in St Luke’s, Armagh and none in South Tyrone.
Meanwhile, three confirmed cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 have been detected in Northern Ireland.
These are the first confirmed cases in the province.
A detailed health protection risk assessment and contact tracing response has been deployed. The risk of transmission is judged to be low at this time.
The Department of Health is working closely with the Public Health Agency and the Regional Virology Laboratory in relation to the investigation and assessment of these case.
Health Minister Robin Swann stated:“I have previously been clear that identification of a confirmed case or cases of this variant in Northern Ireland was inevitable at some point.
“This development does not mean that this variant is going to become the most prevalent, or the dominant strain in Northern Ireland.
“However, it does underline once again the very real need for continuing caution in relation to Covid-19.
“The best way to stop variants developing or spreading is to keep pushing down infection rates and transmission of the virus in our community.
“All variants of the SARS-COV-2 virus spread in the same way – and we all have an important role to play in stopping the spread of this virus, by following the tried and tested public health advice.
“That means staying at home, cutting down your contacts if you have to go out, avoiding busy indoor settings with poor ventilation, washing your hands carefully and often, and wearing a face covering.”
All travellers returning to Northern Ireland must self isolate for 10 days from the date of their return.