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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 3 August 2021

Five deaths and 1,252 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Northern Ireland

The Stormont executive said last night it is hoping measures it introduces will avoid the need for another lockdown.

Image: Brian Lawless/PA Images

A FURTHER 1,252 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Northern Ireland.

In its daily update, the NI Department of Health also said that a further five people with Covid-19 have died, bringing the death toll to 639.

There have been 32,286 confirmed cases, 6,893 in the last seven days.

There are currently 296 patients with Covid-19 being treated in hospital, with 34 in intensive care.

Furthermore, an estimated 1.01% of people in private households had Covid-19 in the two weeks from October 3 to 16, or around one in 100 people.

Because the infection survey has only been running in Northern Ireland for a short period, the UK’s Office for National Statistics said it is too early to comment on any trend on the proportion of population testing positive for Covid-19.

Due to a relatively small number of tests within the survey sample, the results should be treated with caution.

Based on swab test results from 2,932 participants collected over the two-week period, 28 people from 24 households tested positive.

Last night, Stormont ministers vowed to formulate a new coronavirus strategy that will avoid the need for another lockdown in Northern Ireland.

First Minister Arlene Foster said ramping up test and trace capacity, increasing hospital capacity, making businesses Covid-secure and introducing weekly testing regimes for key workers were among steps that could keep the region’s economy afloat in the absence of a vaccine.

“Obviously you could go down the road of having a circuit-breaker, then a break, then another circuit-breaker – we’re saying that we don’t think that is the way to proceed,” said the DUP leader.

Sinn Féin Junior Minister Declan Kearney said while nothing could be taken off the table, the Executive was not envisaging another lockdown.

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Kearney said there was a need for a “huge cultural and behavioural shift” to increase compliance with basic anti-infection measures, so more severe steps could be avoided again.

Northern Ireland is in the first week of a four-week circuit-break. Pubs and restaurants are closed, except for takeaway and deliveries, and schools are shut for a fortnight.

At a meeting of the Stormont Executive yesterday, ministers agreed to a series of further financial measures for those impacted by the latest clampdown.

With reporting from PA

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Sean Murray

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