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Twelve more Covid-related deaths in NI as DUP MP says circuit breaker decision ‘hard to understand and accept’

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

Ten of these occurred in the last 24 hours and two outside that time – according to the official dashboard – which has the overall total now at 913.

Four of those deaths occurred in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough, bring the overall total to 100. Fifty-six people have died in the Newry, Mourne and Down district.

There were a further 369 cases reported in that timeframe, with 48 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and a further 26 in Newry, Mourne and Down.

A total of 2,583 individuals were tested.

There are 447 people now in hospital – that’s nine less than Thursday – as a result of the virus, 38 of whom are in intensive care units – three less than yesterday. There are currently 28 ICU beds available in NI.

Sixty-seven patients are in Craigavon today – four more than yesterday. To date, 558 patients have been discharged from the Co. Armagh hospital.

There are 10 – three less – Covid patients in Daisy Hill in Newry and a further 13 – one more – in Lurgan Hospital.

Meanwhile, DUP MP for Upper Bann Carla Lockhart says she is finding it “hard to understand and accept” the new restrictions announced by the NI Executive “especially for many small businesses who rely on their Christmas trade to see them through the early months of the New Year”.

Ms Lockhart added: “Whilst there is rightly a focus to save lives there also needs to be a focus on saving jobs. A swift compensation package at a level that actually cuts it for businesses forced to close must be delivered, to ensure households incomes are protected and businesses can reopen.

“I reiterate what I said last week – we need to learn to live with Covid and must move away from continuous cycles of lockdown.

“We need to protect the vulnerable but to find a different way other than continuous restrictions.

“Contingency planning during the last five months would have seen budgeting and forecasts for businesses and rescue funding paid a lot quicker.

“It also should have resulted in a major up scaling of our hospitals which appears to have been the tipping point.

“We cannot afford to let our town centre be decimated by Covid, or we won’t have them anymore. I do hope these restrictions don’t last any longer than 11th December and that, rather than shop online with global conglomerates, we shop local and buy local. Everyone can help by reinvesting in the local economy.”

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