A further 17 people in Northern Ireland have died after testing positive for Covid-19 and 1,410 new cases of the virus have been reported.
It brings the death toll to 1,414 and the total number of confirmed cases since the outbreak to 84,646. Some 11,287 people have tested positive in the past seven days alone.
Of the 17 fatalities, 14 occurred within the current reporting period, from 10am on Wednesday to 10am on Thursday, while the remaining three deaths happened previously.
There are currently 599 Covid patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland, with 44 in intensive care and 32 requiring ventilation.
A total of 133 care homes are dealing with outbreaks. Hospital occupancy is 103%.
The news comes after Health Minister Robin Swann hit out at those leaking information from Executive meetings regarding its Covid response.
Mr Swann was speaking as tighter restrictions are set to come into force in Northern Ireland from midnight tonight, including further limits outdoor gatherings and legislation to allow police to enforce the stay-at-home order.
Police, however, have yet to see the legislation.
The health minister said he recognised that there has been confusion regarding some of the measures, which he is working to clear up.
"Certainly our messaging could be better... In regards to outdoor gatherings, there is confusion and that will be tidied up today. We've brought forward additional wording, the Department of Health, to the Executive that will be put through in regards to that," he told the BBC.
Mr Swann also took issue with members of the Executive leaking information from Covid meetings, stating they are preventing "mature political debate" on the issues.
"I'll be blunt and I'll be straight here, what we've seen and what one of my challenges is not the squabbling within the Executive, it is the real time reporting and the leaking that goes on at times, because it doesn't allow the Executive to have that mature political debate without it being broadcast while that conversation is ongoing," he said.
"What we see in other governments, in other legislatures, is that those differences of opinion are kept inside until that collective message is agreed and produced... When I look at some of the messages being leaked from inside and Executive meeting, I could almost tell you what party it is coming from when you look at the narrative being pushed."
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