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Two further Covid-19 deaths and 259 new cases reported in past 24 hours

Covid testing facility at Kernan Playing Fields

Two more people have died as a result of Covid-19, according to the Department of Health.

The death toll has risen to 581.

There were 259 new cases reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the seven-day total to almost 2,000 (1,979).

To date, over half a million tests have been carried out on 353,207 people.

There were 141 cases in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough in the last week, with 238 in Newry, Mourne and Down.

At present, there are 70 people in hospital as a result of the virus, with nine of those patients in intensive care units.

Meanwhile, the StopCOVID NI app has been made available to 11-17-year-olds.

Health Minister Robin Swann has predicted that “teenage clicks” will help take downloads for the app over the half million mark. The current total for downloads is close to 400,000.

The StopCOVID NI app was launched at the end of July.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “This is a really positive and welcome development. The StopCOVID NI app is now available for teenage clicks and I am confident this will help push the download total above 500,000 and beyond.

“The more people with this app active on their smart phones, the more effective it will be. It will make a significant contribution to reducing the spread of the virus by speeding up notification of infection risk and advising self-isolation where required.

“I would reassure young people and everyone else that the app protects their privacy. The Government does not know who you are, where you are, or who you have been with.

“The app uses anonymised smartphone data to let you down you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

“As we face into a very difficult winter, we have to do everything we can to combat Covid-19. This app is part our fightback and I would urge everyone to download the app and keep it and their operating system up to date.”

The app was designed with the ICO code “Age appropriate design: a code of practice for online services” ensuring compliance well in advance of the code being enforceable on September 2, 2021. The app will not drain phone batteries as it uses low energy Bluetooth.

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