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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Swann warns 'dangerous' behaviour in Holyland won't be tolerated as working group established

  • Official NI Department of Health death toll rises to 573 after two further deaths
  • Localised restrictions are made legally enforceable in Belfast, Ballymena, BT28, BT29 and BT43
  • Fines for breaches of the new regulations start at £60 and double on every subsequent breach up to a max of £960
  • 641 cases recorded in NI in the last seven days
  • Scroll down for today's main updates

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Health Minister Robin Swann (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA)

Health Minister Robin Swann (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA)

An emergency department nurse (Michael Cooper/PA)

An emergency department nurse (Michael Cooper/PA)

PA

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Health Minister Robin Swann (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA)

Health minister Robin Swann has said "dangerous, anti-social behaviour" will not be tolerated in light of recent scenes of disorder in the Holyland area of south Belfast.

Mr Swann said a working group of bodies including Executive ministers and the PSNI has been established in an "urgent and coordinated" response in light of recent events.

"The students in the Holyland are not representative of others their age across Northern Ireland," he said.

Speaking at the Stormont press conference, a senior nurse working at the Ulster Hospital has said she has never seen colleagues so worried about the incoming winter season in light of the challenges posed by coronavirus.

Roisin Devlin made an appeal to those who she said might be weary of adhering to restrictions imposed to fight against the virus.

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Roisin Devlin

Roisin Devlin

Roisin Devlin

"Please do not be complacent, the public advice is so important," she said. "Please help us in healthcare to help you."

Meanwhile, Mr Swann added he would not hesitate to recommend further, tighter restrictions if needed on the day new regulations became legally enforceable in certain postcode areas in Northern Ireland.

"I'm not going to sit on my hands and hope for the best when our Covid-19 rates are rapidly increasing," he said.

It comes after a further two deaths due to Covid-19 were recorded in Northern Ireland.

There have been 129 new cases diagnosed over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 8,631 in NI since the pandemic began. The death toll is now 573.

A man and a woman died as a result of coronavirus in this reporting period over the past 24 hours. Both were in the 60-79 age bracket with both of the deaths taking place in hospital. One took place in the Newry, Mourne and Down council area.

In Northern Ireland hospitals, there are 21 confirmed inpatients, with three patients in ICU.

There are 25 active care home outbreaks and 190 outbreaks have been closed.

The Covid pandemic's impact on the NI economy has continued to deepen with the loss of 33 jobs at Hillsborough Castle and more than 50 workers facing the axe at Translink.

The 18th century castle, where the contentious 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed and which has hosted many royal and state visits down the years, employs 91 people across 78 full-time posts.

'It is a prospect that fills me with dread': For Lisa Smyth, arranging a test for her daughter (7), was anything but straightforward.

Two weeks after returning to school, her seven-year-old daughter came home on Monday afternoon with a cough....

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Belfast Telegraph