| -0.9°C Belfast

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Swann to outline options for 'better Christmas season' at Executive meeting on Thursday

  • 11 further deaths, 518 new cases
  • Department of Health death toll rises to 889
  • Executive to discuss reopening hospitality sector on Thursday
  • Dodds praises health minister's grace after Wilson attack
  • Scroll down to read Wednesday's coverage

Close

Health Minister Robin Swann visiting the new Nightingale Hospital in Whiteabbey. Picture: Michael Cooper

Health Minister Robin Swann visiting the new Nightingale Hospital in Whiteabbey. Picture: Michael Cooper

Michael Cooper

Health Minister Robin Swann visiting the new Nightingale Hospital in Whiteabbey. Picture: Michael Cooper

Health Minister Robin Swann has said he will bring a paper before the Northern Ireland Executive on Thursday to outline the measures needed for a "better Christmas season".

Speaking at the Department of Health's Covid-19 briefing Mr Swann said he would recommend further restrictions to protect the health service if necessary.

He said everyone still needed to do the basics to stop the virus from spreading and that "inevitably" this would mean a level of restrictions.

The UUP MLA said he would bring a paper to Thursday's meeting "setting out a number of options".

"It will again detail a range of possible interventions and and initiatives to get us through the difficult weeks ahead," Mr Swann said.

"These can help us achieve a better Christmas season as we look forward to a much better new year."

Mr Swann said that Northern Ireland's political leaders had a "critical responsibility to take the right decisions".

The health minister said the most important thing for the economy and the health service was driving down the spread of the virus.

However, he said there was "real hope" on the horizon heading into the spring.

Mr Swann cited the "exciting progress" being made on a vaccine and that "mass testing is closer to becoming a reality".

"Springtime is coming, but it's not here yet. It will still be a really tough winter and the last thing we should do is get complacent just because we can see better days ahead," he said.

It comes after the Department of Health announced a further 11 people in Northern Ireland have died as a result of Covid-19.

Nine of the deaths occurred within the past 24 hours, while two went previously unreported. The death toll in the region now stands at 889.

Another 518 people have tested positive for the virus after 7,767 tests were carried out on 3,276 on Tuesday.

There have now been 48,229 confirmed cases of the virus in Northern Ireland since the pandemic began.

Over the past week 3,535 people have tested positive for the virus, with 646 people in the Belfast council area and 520 in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

There are currently 452 Covid-19 patients in Northern Ireland's hospitals with 44 in intensive care units.

Hospital bed occupancy currently stands at 102%, while 25 intensive care unit beds remain free.

In Northern Ireland's care homes there are currently 166 active outbreaks of the virus.

Scroll down to read Wednesday's coverage:

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy