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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: One death and 97 new cases as Robin Swann says 'scales tipping' on reopening

  • Death toll stands at 2,130
  • Swann confirms over 1million vaccines administered

  • Swann says 'scales tipping' on reopening

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Robin Swann and Southern Trust staff at the South Lake Leisure Centre vaccination centre

Robin Swann and Southern Trust staff at the South Lake Leisure Centre vaccination centre

Robin Swann and Southern Trust staff at the South Lake Leisure Centre vaccination centre

The Health Minister Robin Swann has said the "scales are tipping" on relaxing some coronavirus restrictions, as he pointed to the improved health picture as a reason for "optimism".

Speaking during a press briefing alongside Dr Michael McBride, he said now was the time to give people "indicative dates" ahead of Thursday's Executive meeting which is likely to recommend a number of relaxations across society.

Mr Swann did however urge the public in Northern Ireland to be cautious and called on people to take up a vaccine when the offer of one arrived.

"The scales are tipping in favour of relaxations of some of our restrictions and being able to accelerate this process. This is thanks, in no small measure to how you have stuck to our restrictions and vaccination programme," said Mr Swann.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

"Frustration is growing and if unchecked it may impact on adherence with public health advice. We must avoid that. I believe the time is now right for the executive to proceed with further easing of restrictions including some indicative dates.

"For me the guiding principle has to be the promotion of personal and societal wellbeing. That includes giving people more opportunities to meet up with family and friends outdoors in as safe a way possible.

"I also owe it to the people of Northern Ireland to be straight with them. Easing any lock down measure inevitably comes with some risk. Against that of course we cannot stay in lock down forever. We have to remain careful and vigilant."

Meanwhile, a further 97 new cases and one death from Covid-19 has been reported in Northern Ireland over the past 24 hours.

The Department of Health confirmed the death toll in the region from the virus now stands at 2,130.

There have been 118,573 positive cases of the virus in Northern Ireland since testing for the pandemic began.

Over the past seven days 780 people have tested positive for Covid-19, up from 558 the week before.

There are currently 70 Covid-19 patients in the region's hospitals, with eight in an intensive care unit. Five patients are on ventilators.

Hospital bed occupancy currently stands at 102% and 28 intensive care unit beds remain free.

There are currently four active outbreaks of the virus in Northern Ireland's care homes.

How the press briefing unfolded:


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