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Two further Covid-related deaths as teachers’ union calls for Christmas circuit breaker for schools

woman school covid

There have been two further Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland today (Tuesday).

The total number of deaths now stands at 2,875.

The ABC Borough accounts for 392 fatalities. There have been 212 in the NMD district, while Mid Ulster accounts for 272 – up one on yesterday.

There have been a further 1,585 positive cases recorded from 4,221 people tested in the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health’s latest daily dashboard update. There have been 11,328 in the last seven days.

There were 160 positive cases in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. There were 166 cases in Newry, Mourne and Down – the third highest in NI – while Mid-Ulster recorded 142. Belfast – the highest in NI – recorded 218 positive cases.

There are 341 – up one – patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 29 – up one – of whom are in intensive care units. A total of 237 Covid patients have been discharged in the last seven days.

Currently, there are 113 – down four – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 63 – down nine – of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital.

There are six ICU beds available across Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland currently stands at 103% – up 3% on yesterday.

Meanwhile, Justin McCamphill from the teaching union NASUWT, has called for a Christmas “circuit breaker” with Northern Ireland schools to be closed on or before December 15.

Speaking to the BBC’s Nolan Show, Mr McCamphill, said: “I think there should be a circuit breaker over the Christmas period, I can see how taking a few days off at the end of December may help.

“The thing is it can only be part of a wider package, if we do it and then still allow everyone to mingle and socialise together over Christmas, we are actually going to be facing a worse situation in January. Schools can’t just be looked at in isolation.”

Last week, The National Association of Head Teachers last wrote to the Education Minister Michelle McIlveen to highlight concerns around staff shortages.

Mr McCamphill revealed that 1,072 staff have contracted Covid-19 within NI schools in past four weeks, which is why he has called on the Executive to take action before the “situation gets worse”.

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