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Nine further Covid-related deaths reported in NI with almost 2,000 positive cases

There have been nine further Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland, with three of these occurring in the last 24 hours.

According to the official dashboard, there were a further 1,963 positive cases – up 618 – reported in the last 24 hours with 191 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. There were 163 in Newry, Mourne and Down while Mid-Ulster District recorded 125. Belfast had 343 cases in the last 24 hours.

A total of 5,459 individuals were tested in that time.

There are 379 – down 15 – people in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 46 –a decrease of three – of whom are in an intensive care unit.

There are 84 – down three – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 74 – down one – of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital. There are nine patients in Daisy Hill.

There are currently ten ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy currently stands at 102% of capacity.

The total number of deaths now stands at 2,278..

There have been 32 deaths in the last seven days, up on the previous seven where 29 deaths were recorded.

The Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area accounts for 306 deaths overall. Newry, Mourne and Down District accounts for 175 deaths while Mid-Ulster has registered 212 deaths.

Meanwhile, First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have urged all those eligible for a coronavirus vaccine to come forward and get their first jab at the ‘Big Jab Weekend’.

Mass vaccination centres will be offering walk-in first jabs for all adult age groups on August 21 and 22.

First Minister Paul Givan said: “The ‘Big Jab Weekend’ will be the last chance for anyone aged 18 and over to get their first jab at a mass vaccination centre.

“The vaccine is key in allowing us to return to all of those aspects of life we hold dear but more importantly, the vaccine is saving lives. And, the more people who are vaccinated, the better equipped we are to deal with the virus.

“I want to pay tribute to everyone who has supported the vaccination programme to date, with over 85 per cent of the adult population receiving the protection of the first jab.

“I would encourage those who have not yet had a vaccine to drop into your nearest vaccination centre this weekend. No appointment is needed and by having your vaccine, you are part of the collective effort in overcoming the pandemic.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Covid-19 is still spreading in our community and, sadly, it is still claiming lives. We want to see as many people as possible protected from Covid, and getting vaccinated is the best way to tackle the virus.

“The majority of people in hospital with Covid-19 are those that have not been vaccinated so I would urge everyone to come forward and get their first dose as soon as possible.

“The mass vaccination centres will be winding down by the end of this month and while there will still be opportunities to get your first jab, the ‘Big Jab Weekend’ provides an opportunity to drop in and have your vaccine at a time that suits you.

“Getting the vaccine will protect not just you, but your family, friends and colleagues and is a vital step on our pathway back to normality.”

The ‘Big Jab Weekend’ this Saturday and Sunday will be the last chance for anyone aged 18 and over to get their first jab at a mass vaccination centre.

There will be ongoing initiatives, including further mobile clinics.

However, opportunities will inevitably become more limited, as the focus of the vaccination programme switches to booster jabs.

To find your nearest COVID vaccination centre, participating pharmacy or pop-up clinic at: nidirect.gov.uk/covidvaccine

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