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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Executive introduces pre-departure testing for international arrivals as 16 further deaths reported

  • 16 further deaths and 973 new cases confirmed
  • Department of Health death toll rises to 1,533
  • Cases since outbreak now 92,782
  • Executive meeting to discuss travel and restrictions
  • Scroll down to see how Thursday unfolded

The NI Executive has agreed to introduce pre-departure testing for international arrivals into Northern Ireland.

First Minister Arlene Foster, speaking at the Executive press conference on Thursday, announced the move.

"This means that anyone arriving into Northern Ireland who has been outside of the common travel area within the previous 14 days must have evidence of a negative test in the last 72 hours," she said.

Mrs Foster said the requirement for these travelers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in Northern Ireland remains in place.

She said ministers have also expressed frustration over a "lack of progress" with the Irish government in providing passenger locator forms to monitor those travelling into Northern Ireland from the Republic. She said this matter will be urgently raised with the Taoiseach.

Mrs Foster said that by the end of Wednesday 102,701 people had received the first dose of their vaccination in Northern Ireland.

It comes as a further 16 people in Northern Ireland have died after testing positive for Covid-19 and 973 new cases of the virus have been reported.

It brings the death toll to 1,533 and the total number of confirmed cases since the outbreak to 92,782. Some 7,769 people have tested positive in the last seven days.

Of the 16 fatalities, 13 happened within the current reporting period, from 10am on Wednesday to 10am on Thursday, while the remaining three deaths happened previously.

There are currently 850 Covid patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland, with 58 in intensive care and 44 requiring ventilation. Hospitals are at 96% capacity.

A total of 142 care homes are dealing with outbreaks.

Here's how Thursday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph