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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Health Minister Swann to recommend mandatory face coverings in shops as no further deaths reported

  • NI death toll remains at 556
  • 2025 before NI economy recovers, MLAs told
  • Scroll down to read Wednesday's live blog
  • Health Minister Robin Swann is to recommend to the Executive that the wearing of face coverings in shops in Northern Ireland becomes mandatory.

    "I have no wish to pre-empt Executive decisions, but I am firmly of the view that everything possible must be done to encourage the wearing of face coverings in retail stores and other indoor spaces where people are not eating, drinking or exercising," he said.

    "The chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser agree.

    "It is also the case that making it mandatory would provide clarity and reassurance for members of the public.

    "We need to promote every available measure to stop the spread of Covid-19, both now and into the autumn and winter, given the risk of further waves of infection. Wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces will have to become second nature if we are to keep each other safe.

    "I am also very mindful that shielding is due to be paused from July 31. People who have been shielding will need our support as they resume everyday activities. Wearing face coverings in shops and indoor spaces is an important way to show solidarity with them."

    The news comes after the Department of Health confirmed that there have been no further been no new deaths related to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours.

    The death total remains at 556.

    There were nine new cases of coronavirus taking the number of confirmed cases to 5,799. So far, 123,285 people have been tested for the disease in Northern Ireland.

    Meanwhile, official figures today provided a comprehensive breakdown of the Covid-19 death rates across Northern Ireland down to a postcode level. Previously only council level data was available.

    All parts of Belfast were badly affected by the virus, according to the figures released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

    Check out our live blog below to see how Wednesday's developments unfolded:

    Belfast Telegraph