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Six more Covid-related deaths as First Minister speaks on plans to reopen schools on January 11

Over the last seven days there have been 1,830 positive cases in the ABC Borough – again the highest in Northern Ireland - compared to 573 in the previous seven day period

Schools

There were six further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Sunday).

Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – takes in the last 24 hours.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,354.

There were a further 1,672 cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 291 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the highest in NI – and a further 209 in Newry, Mourne and Down. There were 106 cases in Mid Ulster.

A total of 4,346 individuals were tested.

Over the last seven days there have been 1,830 positive cases in the ABC Borough – again the highest in Northern Ireland – compared to 573 in the previous seven day period.

There are 507 – up 24 – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 36 of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 20 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

Eighty-seven – down four  – patients are in Craigavon. To date, 759 patients have been discharged from the Co. Armagh hospital.

There are 24 – up four – Covid patients in Daisy Hill, with 17 – up eight – in Lurgan Hospital.

Meanwhile, First Minister Arlene Foster has said the Northern Ireland Executive, despite the growing number of infections, will do all that it can to ensure that young people are back at school the week after next.

Pupils should have been returning to school on January 4 but this was put back with remote learning planned for the week ahead.

First Minister Foster addressed the issue on Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show.

She was asked if she could give a guarantee that pupils sitting GCSE and A Levels in Northern Ireland would be back in school on January 11.

Said the First Minister: “That is our plan. It is important that we do plan for our young people. They have missed out on far too much in education during Covid. I really am concerned about the life chances for our young people.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on our education system here in Northern Ireland and of course the best place for our young people is in schools. Therefore we will do all that we can to keep our young people in schools.

“However, we do recognise that with this new mutant version of Covid-19 there are difficulties, that it transmits amongst younger people and therefore we have to take that into consideration.

“I certainly don’t want to be in a position of keeping our young people at home, but let me say this…it is important that we get young people into schools again but we have to have remote learning for a short period of time and I hope it is a short period of time.”

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