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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Two deaths and 1,471 new cases as Executive considers further relaxations

Death toll stands at 2,178


FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo


FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

Two further deaths linked to coronavirus and 1,471 new positive cases have been confirmed by the Department of Health. 

Thursday’s figures come as the Executive are meeting virtually to consider a number of relaxations, including easing rules on international travel and the resumption of conferences and exhibitions

The latest figures show the total deaths recorded by the department since the start of the pandemic stands at 2,178

A further 1,471 people have tested positive for Covid-19 out of 4,944 tested over the past 24 hours.

A total of 154,167 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Northern Ireland since testing for the pandemic began.

Ten deaths have been recorded from the virus in Northern Ireland during the past seven days.

Over the past seven days 9,142 people have tested positive, down slightly from 9,677 the week before.

There are currently 234 Covid-19 inpatients in Northern Ireland's hospitals, with 31 in intensive care – one less than Wednesday.

Hospital bed occupancy stands at 103%, and six facilities are over capacity.

The were 235 Covid admissions in the past week, up from 197 the previous week.

There are currently 80 active outbreaks in care homes – an increase of 35 outbreaks in the past seven days.

By noon on Thursday, a total of 2,239,652 vaccines have been administered in Northern Ireland including 1,209,145 first doses.

Meanwhile, Stormont ministers will consider a range of proposed relaxations to Covid-19 rules on international travel later.

Health Minister Robin Swann has circulated a paper to executive colleagues proposing that the region follows the rest of the UK from Monday by allowing travellers from EU amber countries and the US who are fully vaccinated to enter without the need to quarantine.

It’s understood Mr Swann will also bring a proposal to the executive that Uefa VIP guests and Villarreal fans travelling to attend the Super Cup in Belfast on August 11 are exempted from isolation.

Chelsea fans travelling from England for the showpiece match are already not subject to any travel restrictions.

Other proposals on travel to be considered by the executive on Thursday include the return of international cruises from Saturday.

Ministers will also examine a proposal for managed isolation arrangements for international students arriving from red list countries ahead of the new academic term. These arrangements, if approved, would come into effect on August 9.

Mr Swann also wants to establish a bespoke Covid-19 testing regime for international travellers whose jobs qualify them for isolation exemptions. This would potentially come into effect on Monday.

Thursday's virtual meeting will also see ministers consider some other relaxations of Covid-19 rules within Northern Ireland.

They include the resumption of conferences and exhibitions and a proposal to end social distancing requirements for outdoor activities and reduce the distance to one metre for indoor settings.

It is unclear whether final decisions will be taken on those steps, which are categorised as "higher risk", and ministers may opt to defer them to their next meeting on August 12.

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