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Coronavirus-linked death toll in Northern Ireland has topped 1,500

The coronavirus-linked death toll in Northern Ireland has passed 1,500, the region's statistics agency has said.

Figures compiled by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) present a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19 than the toll reported by Stormont's Department of Health.

While the departmental death toll stood at 1,099 yesterday, Nisra has reported coronavirus as a factor in 1,501 deaths that occurred up to December 4.

The statistics agency reports its Covid-19 data with a week lag.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

It found that 80 Covid-19-linked deaths occurred in the week November 28 - December 4.

The comparative total number of deaths reported daily by the Department of Health stood at 1,099 on December 4.

Another 12 people have died with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the Department said yesterday.

Of the 1,501 deaths recorded by Nisra by December 4, 884 (59%) occurred in hospital, 503 (34%) in care homes, nine (0.6%) in hospices and 105 (7%) at residential addresses or other locations.

The 512 deaths which occurred in care homes and hospices involved 124 separate establishments.

Nisra also provides an analysis around the total number of care home residents who have died, whether in their home or in hospital, having been transferred for treatment. Up to December 4, the deaths of 630 care home residents were linked to coronavirus, 127 of which occurred in hospital.

Care home residents make up about 42% of all deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

In the week November 28 -December 4, 98 coronavirus-linked deaths were officially registered in Northern Ireland, some of which occurred before that week, as fatalities can take a number of days to register.

In the Republic, another three people have died with Covid-19, National Public Health Emergency Team said yesterday, while the health system was notified of a further 313 infections.

Meanwhile, First Minister Arlene Foster expressed concern that further restrictions may be required in January.

"Of course I'm concerned about that," she said. "And I've always said none of this is inevitable. It's actually within people's own hands. And I know that people like to get out and about at Christmas time and meet people and do the normal things. But, on this one occasion, we're asking people to be really careful and try to keep safe."

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill also expressed fears about the potential consequences in January after the lifting of several restrictions yesterday.

Asked if she was nervous about what the move might mean for the region in January, she replied: "To be completely honest, I am.

"I think we've tried to find a balanced way forward throughout the whole of the pandemic.

"It remains the case today that we know that everything we're doing comes with risk. But I think that the public have the capacity to try to keep this in check, to keep the virus in check by limiting our movements, all of us collectively limiting their movements, being careful, being safe, following the public health advice, we have the capacity to actually try and keep this virus in check."

Belfast Telegraph