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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Health minister considers permanent memorial to those who have died

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    Health Minister Robin Swann

    Health Minister Robin Swann

    Shoppers in Belfast on Saturday.

    Shoppers in Belfast on Saturday.

    A worker in a protective suit swabs the throat of a man at a Covid-19 testing site for those who were potentially exposed to the coronavirus outbreak at a wholesale food market in Beijing (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

    A worker in a protective suit swabs the throat of a man at a Covid-19 testing site for those who were potentially exposed to the coronavirus outbreak at a wholesale food market in Beijing (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

    AP/PA Images

    Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas

    Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas

    Health Minister Robin Swann

    Health Minister Robin Swann has said a permanent memorial is being considered to those who have died from Covid-19.

    Mr Swann said significant progress was being made in "forcing the virus into retreat" after one death and no new cases were announced today.

    "This is due to a massive collective effort by people across Northern Ireland," he said.

    "It is vital that we all maintain this progress and keep following public health advice on social distancing and washing our hands.

    “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the person whose death was reported on Saturday. Many lives have been cut short and we must always be mindful of the terrible toll that Covid-19 has inflicted.

    "I want to see a way being found to permanently commemorate all those who have lost their lives in this pandemic.”

    Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride added: “We have undoubtedly made important strides forward. Covid-19 remains a very real threat and now is not the time to drop guard.”

    The Northern Ireland death toll now stands at 545. 4,866 individuals have tested positive here so far.

    Meanwhile, a Northern Ireland cinema boss has called for Stormont to give cinemas a date to reopen here.

    Managing director of Movie House Cinemas Michael McAdam said the lack of a date is causing major uncertainty for cinema owners.

    It comes as the Republic of Ireland moved their opening date to June 29 and English cinemas are allowed to reopen from July 4.

    “We have been planning for the future and putting in place safety measures over the past months so that we can be ready to reopen as soon as the Government gives the go ahead. However, without a date we are still in limbo,” said Mr McAdam.

    On Friday, Northern Ireland's Department of Education has said children should not wear PPE in classrooms and staff should only wear it in very limited circumstances.

    The new recommendations on school reopenings envisage primary school children receiving a minimum of 40% face-to-face teaching in the classroom, with the rest remotely at home in what is called a 'blended learning' approach.

    Here's how Saturday unfolded:

    Belfast Telegraph