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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Further 20 deaths and 1,634 new cases in 48 hours as Swann warns against New Year's Eve parties

  • 20 deaths and 1,634 new cases in past 48 hours
  • Swann warns against New Year's Eve parties
  • Scroll down to follow today's live blog

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NI is currently under a six-week lockdown (Brian Lawless/PA)

NI is currently under a six-week lockdown (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

NI is currently under a six-week lockdown (Brian Lawless/PA)

A further 20 Covid-related deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland in the past 48 hours, the Department of Health (DoH) has confirmed.

A total of 1,634 new cases of the virus have also been diagnosed. The DoH said a further breakdown of the figures, including hospital admissions, will be provided when the department's Covid dashboard is updated on Tuesday.

It comes after Health Minister Robin Swann urged the Northern Ireland public not to hold potential "super-spreader" New Year's Eve parties on Thursday, warning they could cost lives.

Robin Swann made the plea as the region enters the third day of its six-week lockdown. A 'stay at home' curfew will be in place from 8pm this week, with shops closed and all indoor and outdoor gatherings prohibited until 6am.

Hospitality businesses will also be confined to takeway services and all non-essential retail and close contact services such as hairdressers are also shuttered for the next six weeks.

Robin Swann said another "huge" collective effort is needed to push down infection rates.

"We do that by reducing our contacts with others, by staying at home, by keeping our distance from others if we need to be outdoors for good reason, and by wearing a face covering and washing our hands.

"This will save lives and ease the pressures on our health service at this most challenging time.

"I know how tough 2020 has been and how fed up we all are with this virus. But I am confident we can all pull together once again at this critical time."

He said the new year has "renewed hope with the vaccine rollout", but added: "We need a concerted and united push in the next few months to get us to a better place.

"Please stay at home as much as possible. Please don't be tempted to visit friends this week. It's not just about complying with the regulations, it's about keeping yourself and others safe.

"A New Year's Eve house party would not just be against the law. It could be a super-spreader event, could leave people very seriously ill and could even cost lives."

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Belfast Telegraph


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