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Two further Covid-related deaths as Executive finalises re-opening dates

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There has been two further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland today (Thursday).

According to the official dashboard, 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 203 – an increase of one on Wednesday.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department stands at 2,132.

There were a further 159 – up 62 – positive cases reported in the last 24 hours with 12 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. There was also a further 18 in Newry, Mourne and Down and another eight in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 2,849 individuals were tested.

There are 76 people – six more than yesterday – in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, eight – no change on Wednesday – of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 29 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the NI Executive is currently meeting to discuss and finalise plans for re-opening the economy.

It is widely reported that hairdressers, beauty salons and outdoor attractions will be allowed to re-open on April 23 with all retail and self-contained tourist accommodation opening from April 30.

From May 10, it is expected that outdoor dining, drinking, swimming pools and gyms will be able to operate, while weddings will be permitted to have up to 30 guests from May 14.

However, indoor drinking (i.e. pubs), dining and full tourist accommodation will not be opening before June 1.

An official announcement is expected later today.

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