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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: No further deaths and 326 new positive cases 

  • Death toll remains at 2,155
  • Executive meeting to discuss possible relaxations

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The Delta variant is hitting hardest the age groups who have not yet been offered a vaccine

The Delta variant is hitting hardest the age groups who have not yet been offered a vaccine

AP

The Delta variant is hitting hardest the age groups who have not yet been offered a vaccine

 No further deaths from coronavirus and 326 new positive cases have been confirmed by the Department of Health in the last 24 hours.

It comes as the Executive meets on Thursday to decide on the easing of further coronavirus restrictions.

The total deaths recorded by the department since the start of the pandemic remains at 2,155.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

A further 326 people have tested positive for Covid-19 out of 2,551 tested over the past 24 hours.

A total of 127,448 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Northern Ireland since testing for the pandemic began.

No deaths have been recorded from the virus in Northern Ireland during the past seven days.

Over the past seven days 1,970 people have tested positive, significantly up from 1,203 the week before.

There are currently 21 Covid-19 inpatients in Northern Ireland's hospitals, with two in intensive care.

Hospital bed occupancy stands at 101%, and six facilities are over capacity.

There are currently four active outbreaks in care homes.

By noon on Thursday, a total of 2,038, 058 vaccines have been administered in Northern Ireland including 1,166,842 first doses.

Meanwhile, Stormont ministers will decide later on Thursday whether to press ahead with further Covid-19 rule relaxations amid a warning the Delta variant now accounts for around 75% of Northern Ireland's cases.

A delayed round of measures originally scheduled for June 21 is currently earmark ed for July 5, but only if the Executive green lights the steps at Thursday's meeting.

The relaxations include the return of live music across the hospitality sector; the reopening of theatres and indoor seated venues; the resumption of conferences and exhibitions; and increases in the numbers permitted to gather in indoor and outdoor domestic settings.

Ministers will also consider whether to lift a 500 limit on the size of outdoor non-domestic gatherings, potentially replacing the cap with a risk assessment model.

According to a letter seen by BBC Northern Ireland, a Department for Communities (DfC) task force has urged Stormont to allow live music to resume.

The letter from the Culture, Arts and Heritage Task force to the Sinn Fein minister Deirdre Hargey calls for the reopening of entertainment venues.

"Members recognise the seriousness of the risk presented by Covid-19, and, in particular, the concerns around the Delta variant,” said the letter by task force chair Rotha Johnston.

"Of particular concern is its impact on the return of commercial live music, live theatre and other performing arts, and for the musicians, actors, independent practitioners, technicians and others who make their living through live performance.

"The reality is that the continuing delays in reopening the sector and allowing people to return to their activities and pursue their livelihoods, is risking the viability of our venues and imposing huge stresses on the incomes, health and wellbeing of many in the sector." 


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