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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Foster hits out at 'selfish' business owners forcing staff into work as further 22 deaths reported

  • 1,205 people test positive for Covid-19
  • Death toll rises to 1,498
  • Scroll down to read Tuesday's live blog

First Minister Arlene Foster has hit out at "selfish" business owners and employers who have forced staff to come into work even if it is not necessary.

The DUP leader, speaking in Dungannon on Tuesday afternoon, said: "It is unfortunate that I have become aware that some business owners are requiring their staff to attend the workplace when people could work from home or indeed businesses which should not be open at all.

"That is quite a selfish spirit and it is not going to help us beat the virus and keep people safe.

"And for those who say but someone else is doing it, as my mother used to say, if they put their hand in the fire, there is no need for you to follow it."

Mrs Foster said that over the last few weeks the R rate for new cases has dropped from 1.8 to 1.1 in Northern Ireland.

She added: "That has been achieved by so many taking personal responsibility and doing the right thing."

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill praised health care workers who have been dealing with "immense pressure" in recent days.

She said: "We are indebted to you for the work that you have been doing in supporting those people in the health service."

It comes as a further 22 people in Northern Ireland have died after testing positive for Covid-19. It brings the death toll to 1,498.

Of the 22 fatalities, 18 happened within the current reporting period, from 10am on Monday to 10am on Tuesday, while the remaining four deaths occurred previously.

A further 1,205 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours.

The are 751 Covid patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland, with 55 in intensive care and 38 requiring ventilation.

Hospitals are at 99% occupancy.

A total of 149 care homes are dealing with outbreaks of the virus.

Here's how Tuesday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph