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Arlene Foster warns of 'very real' danger of a second coronavirus surge

  • Scroll down for our coverage of Friday's main developments as it happened

The Northern Ireland Executive plans to announce a "Covid-19 recovery plan" next week, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has confirmed.

Speaking at the Executive's daily briefing, she said: "We have a responsibility to make sure people do not have to go through this crisis any longer than we have to. We have to accept that Covid-19 could be here for some considerable time to come."

The priority, she said, was to "limit the transmission of the virus" and there would be no "sweeping changes" to lockdown regulations.

"Next week we will publish our pathway to recovery," said Mrs O'Neill.

First Minister Arlene Foster told reporters that there is a "very real" danger of a second coronavirus surge if the public ignores advice about the lockdown restrictions.

Mrs Foster was speaking after the latest data revealed a further four people have died in the last 24 hours, with a further 14 unreported deaths announced for Northern Ireland. It brings the total death toll related to coronavirus in NI to 365.

The newly published figures, which relate to 9.30am on April 30 to 9.30am on May 1, show that four people have died with a further 14 deaths reported but not occurring within this period.

The figures from the Department of Health show that a further 87 people have tested positive since the last report, with a total of 3,623 found to have had the disease after testing. Some 23,381 people have been tested overall.

There is currently 33 people with coronavirus in intensive care beds in Northern Ireland.

It comes as the numbers of coronavirus deaths taking place in care homes in Northern Ireland has risen to more than 40%, new figures have indicated.

NISRA stats show that up until the week ending April 24, there were 393 deaths involving Covid-19 , with 209 (53.2%) in hospital, 158 (40.2%) in care homes, three (0.8%) in hospices and 23 (5.9%) at residential addresses or other locations.

The 161 deaths in care homes and hospices involved 57 separate establishments.

The comparative number of deaths reported daily by the Department of Health to April 24 was 299.

These figures are based on patients having previously tested positive for the virus, whereas NISRA figures are based on the information entered on death certificates, filled out by medical professionals.

They may or may not have previously tested positive for the virus. Over the last four weeks in total, 596 "excess deaths’"- deaths above the average for the corresponding period in previous years- have been registered in Northern Ireland.

Check out how Friday's main developments unfolded.

Belfast Telegraph