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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: One further death and 121 new cases reported

  • Death toll stands at 2,099
  • NI Covid vaccine programme extended to over 50s

  • £178m grants announced for Northern Ireland businesses


A woman receives an injection of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (PA)

A woman receives an injection of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (PA)

A woman receives an injection of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine (PA)

One further death and 121 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Northern Ireland over the past 24 hours, the Department of Health has reported.

The total death toll in Northern Ireland now stands at 2,099.

Some 1,270 positive cases have been confirmed in the last week, up from 1,230 in the previous seven days.

There are currently 182 Covid patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland, with 22 in intensive care and 16 requiring ventilation. Hospitals are operating at 93% capacity.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

A total of 14 care homes are dealing with Covid outbreaks.

It comes as Northern Ireland's vaccination programme was extended to 50-59-year-olds, with booking slots now available at the seven regional vaccination centres.

GPs are also now covering the 50 plus age range.

After receiving his AstraZeneca jab on Monday morning, Northern Ireland's chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride insisted it was "safe and effective".

It comes as the Republic and a number of other countries temporarily paused administration of AstraZeneca doses after reports of people suffering blood clots in Europe.

Dr McBride said the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had made clear there was no evidence of a link between the vaccine and reported cases of blood clots.

He said there had been no reported concerns of vaccine linkage to clotting in Northern Ireland.

"I didn't need to be called a second time this morning when the opportunity was to get my vaccine," he said.

"The MHRA is very clear that they do not feel that those are linked to the vaccine and are probably random events which are occurring, and would have occurred normally.

"What the public should be assured of is that the MHRA is a global leader in safety and efficacy of vaccines and is publishing data on side effects on a weekly basis."

Dr McBride added: "I was delighted to get the AstraZeneca vaccine this morning.

"This is a safe, effective vaccine as recommended by MHRA and let's remember - this virus kills people, kills people my age, younger people and older people, and the benefit is strongly in favour of people getting this vaccine at this time."

First Minister Arlene Foster has also urged people to take the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The DUP leader said she will be booking her jab for this week or next after the rollout was extended.

Mrs Foster said: "The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) have been very clear that it is safe to take the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"I am looking forward to taking it, either this week or next week, depending on when I am able to get my vaccine booked for, but it is very important that people continue to take the vaccine.

"We have made huge progress in the UK in relation to the vaccine, so it is important that people continue to do that so we can leave lockdown in the rearview mirror and we can move on with our lives."

Meanwhile Finance Minister Conor Murphy has announced three new business support grants to the Northern Ireland Assembly in what is a £178m lifeline for firms continuing to face challenges during the pandemic.

The three schemes will support almost 20,000 businesses including: a £50,000 grant for large businesses unable to access grant funding during the first lockdown; a £25,000 payment to manufacturing businesses unable to access grant funding during the first lockdown; and top-up payments of £5,000 and £10,000 for businesses which received grants during the first lockdown but are not eligible for one of the current Executive support schemes.

Mr Murphy, who announced the schemes at midday today, said: “This package of support will help businesses and safeguard jobs through the period ahead as we emerge from the current restrictions.”

Meanwhile, the PSNI also confirmed there has been an additional 135 £200 penalty notices issued this week for breaches of Covid-19 regulations. 3856 such fines have been issued since March 2020.

33 additional fines have been issued this week to licensed premises or for restriction of gatherings in a private dwelling.

One additional fine for failing to isolate has been issued this week, alongside a further one fine issued to a business or premises breaching the regulations.

A further 25 Community Resolution Notices have been issued within the past week.

Belfast Telegraph

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