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Twelve further Covid deaths as Health Minister says lockdown could extend beyond March 5

Covid vaccine

There were 12 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Friday).

Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with 10 of the 12 passing away inside that period.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,704.

There were a further 865 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 165 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the highest in NI  – and a further 87 in Newry, Mourne and Down. There were 121 cases in Mid Ulster.

A total of 4,239 individuals were tested.

There are 828 – up 22 – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 72 – up two – of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 24 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

A total of 210 – up 11 – Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area; 159 in Craigavon; 20 in Daisy Hill; 29 in Lurgan and two in South Tyrone.

The latest figures come as the Health minister, Robin Swann, says it would be “unrealistic to think that we’d be able to lift every restriction” come March 5.

Speaking on Good Morning Ulster, Mr Swann, said he cannot be certain restrictions would be lifted because “we do see where this virus is going, the trajectory it’s taking, the large number of positive cases that we are managing, but also the large number of hospital admissions that we currently have”.

He added: “I think there has to be a consideration and planning put into place, we know Covid’s going to be with us for a very long time, we also know it will take time for our vaccination process to kick in and have that major effect.”

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