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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: 15 new cases of Covid-19 as Swann confirms tracking app will launch next week

There have been 15 new cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has confirmed.

No further deaths have been recorded in the region in the past 24 hours.

The death toll remains at 556 after 11 days without a registered death.

The new cases brings the total number of infections in Northern Ireland to 5,891.

They were identified after 2,020 tests were carried out on 1,410 people, with 53 people testing positive over the past week.

There are currently nine Covid-19 patients in Northern Ireland's hospitals, with two in intensive care units.

Since the outbreak of the virus 1,494 people have been discharged from hospital.

In Northern Ireland's care homes there are currently five active outbreaks of Covid-19.

It comes as Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed that a new app aiming to stop the spread of the virus in Northern Ireland will be launched next week.

The StopCOVID NI proximity app will anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for the virus.

It will work alongside the Public Health Agency’s telephone based contact tracing operation.

The technology uses people’s smartphones to log proximity to other people's devices.

It is compatible with the contact tracing app in the Republic of Ireland. It is also expected to be compatible with the app being developed by the NHS for use in Great Britain.

Meanwhile, Mr Swann has expressed doubt the public will wear face coverings to the level required without enforcement.

The Health Minister had advocated for the wearing of coverings to be made mandatory in Northern Ireland's shops, however consensus could not be reached at the Executive table.

It was instead decided to to take a policy of "education and encouragement" towards face coverings.

However the Executive retains the power to make the wearing of coverings mandatory if compliance levels are low by August 20.

Here's how Friday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph