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Concern over rise in Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland after nearly 300 are diagnosed within a week

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The Department of Health said yesterday that 27 cases had been confirmed over the previous 24 hours, bringing to 288 the number of people diagnosed over the last seven days

The Department of Health said yesterday that 27 cases had been confirmed over the previous 24 hours, bringing to 288 the number of people diagnosed over the last seven days

PA

The Department of Health said yesterday that 27 cases had been confirmed over the previous 24 hours, bringing to 288 the number of people diagnosed over the last seven days

Almost 300 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland over the last week, official figures have revealed.

The Department of Health said yesterday that 27 cases had been confirmed over the previous 24 hours, bringing to 288 the number of people diagnosed over the last seven days.

According to the official statistics, there were seven people with Covid-19 in hospital and one person with the virus fighting for their life in intensive care yesterday.

It follows on from the diagnosis of a further 65 cases of Covid-19 on Saturday and 74 cases on Friday, and the news that the R number is likely to be 1.6.

The majority of positive cases over the past week have been in Mid and East Antrim, with 74 people diagnosed, followed by Belfast where 60 people have tested positive, and a further 48 cases in Antrim and Newtownabbey.

There have been no further deaths from the virus since the death of 32-year-old Andreea Maftei, who passed away in hospital last Thursday.

The death of Ms Maftei, who lived in Ballymena but who was from Romania, has served as a reminder of the danger posed by Covid-19 at a time when officials are expressing alarm over public complacency regarding the virus.

The number of positive cases being confirmed in Northern Ireland has risen in recent weeks as the lockdown measures have eased.

Health Minister Robin Swann and chief scientific officer Professor Ian Young have both warned the public to adhere to social distancing guidelines and respiratory and hand hygiene techniques.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has expressed "deep concern" at an upsurge in Covid-19 cases in the Republic.

Micheal Martin's comments come after Ireland recorded 200 new cases on Saturday - the highest daily rise since the start of May.

Mr Martin, deputy premier Leo Varadkar, Green Party leader and Government minister Eamon Ryan, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn met on Sunday morning to discuss the situation.

"Yesterday's #COVID19 numbers were deeply concerning and this morning I discussed the evolving situation with the Tanaiste, Green Party Leader, Health Minister and acting CMO," Mr Martin tweeted.

He said the Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team would continue to monitor the situation closely.

"It's essential that we adhere to the public health guidance and maintain social distancing to suppress this virus #HoldFirm," he added.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the Republic since the outbreak began now stands at 27,191.

There were no further deaths reported on Saturday, with the Republic's toll remaining at 1,774.

Of the new cases reported, 68% are people below the age of 45.

Sixty-eight of the cases are associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case, while 25 cases have been identified as having been contracted through community transmission.

Kildare, which is one of three counties currently subjected to localised lockdowns, saw the highest number of new infections at 81. Dublin had 56.

After yesterday's meeting, a Government spokesman said: "The Taoiseach, Tanaiste, Green Party leader, Health Minister and acting CMO met this morning to discuss the evolving Covid-19 situation and to examine the recent spike in cases.

"They expressed deep concern at yesterday's figures. There will be a further analysis of the situation ahead of the Cabinet Committee on Covid, which will meet again on Tuesday."

Belfast Telegraph