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One further Covid-related death as Health Minister urges people ‘not to let frustrations affect judgement’

There have been one further Covid-related death reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Friday).

The figures for the past 24 hours are according to the official dashboard.

The ABC Borough accounts for 284 deaths overall. Both Newry, Mourne and Down District and Mid-Ulster accounts for 165 and 201 of those deaths respectively.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department still stands at 2,116.

There were a further 107 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours – the same as yesterday – with 15 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – only Belfast (19) had more. There were a further four in Newry, Mourne and Down and another seven in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 2,048 individuals were tested.

There are 112 – five less than Thursday – people now in hospital across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 17 of whom are in intensive care units – the same as yesterday.

There are 18 Covid patients in Southern Trust Hospitals, seven of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital.

There are currently 27 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

Today’s figures come as Health Minister Robin Swann urges everyone across Northern Ireland to keep themselves safe from Covid-19 over the Easter period.

“Once again, we are facing a holiday weekend with restrictions on our lives,” the Minister said.

“I totally understand the widespread frustration and indeed share it. But I would appeal to people not to let their frustrations affect their judgement. These restrictions are in place to protect us from a vicious virus that has brought great tragedy to so many families.

“When we are following them, we are helping keep ourselves and others safe – and helping our community get to a better place.

“We are continuing to make good progress. The statistics on Covid-19 have been moving steadily in the right direction and more than three quarters of a million people in Northern Ireland have received their first vaccine dose.

“We are on a pathway towards gradually easing restrictions. The return of schools and expansion of outdoor activities are the first careful steps on this route map. Some regulations have been eased this week, and more welcome decisions will steadily follow if we can keep Covid-19 infections down.

“But it’s still important to follow the basics. That includes maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing hands frequently and well. Stay at home as much as possible and stay local when you are enjoying the great outdoors. Avoid crowded places, especially where it would be hard to keep your distance from others.

“Make fresh air your friend this Easter weekend – outdoors is much safer than indoors. Please please don’t mix indoors with people from other households.

“I want to thank everyone once again for all they have done over the past year to help repel Covid. We still need to keep our guard up for this next period, as we look forward to summer.”

The Department has also today issued a factfile, https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/ive-just-had-vaccine-what-can-i-do-now, advising people who have received the vaccine to keep following public health advice on the Covid-19 threat.

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