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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Nine deaths and 472 new cases as Swann warns further restrictions likely before Christmas

  • Death toll rises to 855
  • Total cases confirmed since outbreak now 46,831
  • Scroll down to read Sunday's blog


Robin Swann has warned further restrictions are likely to recommended before Christmas (Press Eye)

Robin Swann has warned further restrictions are likely to recommended before Christmas (Press Eye)

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Robin Swann has warned further restrictions are likely to recommended before Christmas (Press Eye)

A further nine people in Northern Ireland have died after testing positive for Covid-19 and 472 new cases of the virus have been reported.

It brings the death toll to 855 and the total number of confirmed cases since the outbreak to 46,831. Some 3,920 people have tested positive in the last seven days.

Of the nine fatalities, seven happened within the current reported period, from 10am on Saturday to 10am on Sunday. The two remaining deaths happened previously.

There are currently 415 Covid patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland, with 49 in intensive care and 39 requiring ventilation.

A total of 147 care homes are dealing with outbreaks of the virus.

The news comes after Health Minister Robin Swann said he was "disappointed, embarrassed and ashamed" by Executive decision-making around Covid restrictions, warning that tighter regulations would likely have to be imposed before Christmas as a result.

He was speaking following days of political wrangling at Stormont over hospitality restrictions that saw his proposals to extend the lockdown for two weeks twice rejected via the use of a veto by the DUP.

A 'compromise' plan, tabled by Economy Minister Dianne Dodds, was eventually agreed that would see restaurants, pubs and hotels open on November 27.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Swann said he only "reluctantly" agreed to the plan to avoid the restrictions ending without an agreement.

"I do honestly believe that we will be back, the Department of Health, looking for further restrictions and further regulations before Christmas," he said.

"I'm disappointed, embarrassed and ashamed that it took us until Thursday to come up with this compromise agreement that doesn't go, in my opinion, far enough."

When questioned as to whether he and Justice Minister Naomi Long, who also backed the compromise, in effect "gave the DUP cover", as argued by Suzanne Breen in her latest Sunday Life column, Mr Swann said they were running out of time and a decision had to be made.

"What we did was ensure that the regulations that we had in place didn't fall on Thursday night. That was the option that was put in front of us, that is where the cross-community veto had taken us to," he said.

"It would have been deployed again, and we know it would have been deployed again. It was unfortunate that it was used. It has been portrayed by other political parties that this is now an orange and green issue.

"I am a unionist minister. A cross-community vote was used against health recommendations that I brought forward to extend these regulations by two weeks."

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

Belfast Telegraph