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Positive cases drop but one further Covid-related death as close contact services in NI re-open

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

It occurred within the past 24 hours reporting period in Mid Ulster according to the official dashboard.

As it stands, the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area accounts for 285 deaths overall. Newry, Mourne and Down District accounts for 165 deaths and Mid-Ulster now accounts for 205.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department still stands at 2,141.

There were a further 88 – down 28 – positive cases reported in the last 24 hours with 10 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. There was also a further three in Newry, Mourne and Down and another 12 in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 2,291 individuals were tested.

There are 64 people – two more than yesterday – in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, seven – the same as Thursday – of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently eight – up two – Covid patients in Southern Trust hospitals – four of whom are in Craigavon.

There are currently 25 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Economy Minister Diane Dodds today visited Natural Hair Company in Lisburn to mark the reopening of close contact services under the recent Coronavirus guidelines.

Speaking as she joined owner Martine Broggy as she reopened her business for clients, the Minister said: “This has been a difficult time for many traders and businesses across Northern Ireland. However, we are turning a corner. While we still have some ground to cover to return to complete normality, today’s reopening of close contact services and other easements of restrictions such as the re-opening of outdoor visitor attractions and activity centres is another positive next step towards better days ahead.

“Northern Ireland is now in a much better place than it was three months ago and we should keep looking forward. It is my priority to drive economic recovery and the re-opening of all business is so important to achieving this. Of course, every one of us can play our part in making this happen. It is important that anyone availing of these services from today adheres to the guidance to ensure a safe as well as an enjoyable experience.

“I know men and women up and down the country have been counting the days until they could get their hair done! So, it is wonderful to see these services back.”

On a brief tour of her salon, Martine Broggy outlined for the Minister the safety measures she has put in place in preparation for the return of clients. These include, temperature checks, taking bookings by appointment only, sanitisation points, face coverings and PPE for her team.

Welcoming the Minister, Ms Broggy said: “We’d like to thank the Minister for visiting Natural Hair Company today to see for herself the measures we have put in place to reopen safely. My team and I have received so many message of support recently and it is so heartening to know that our clients are delighted to see us back at work. We have been waiting for this day for some time and we are so excited to get started.”

Later in the morning, the Minister also took the opportunity to visit a number of other businesses in the city including department store Smyth Patterson and food retailer Greens of Lisburn.

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