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Coronavirus: Two more deaths in Northern Ireland and 49 new cases

  • Two more people die in NI, bringing total number of deaths to 15 as number of confirmed cases now exceeds 300
  • UK death toll over 1,000 with biggest single day rise
  • 14 more people die in Republic of Ireland Ireland, taking the country’s death toll to 36

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A motorist is checked by NHS staff at the drive through Covid-19 testing facility on the Crumlin Road near the Mater Hospital in north Belfast. Photo by Peter Morrison

A motorist is checked by NHS staff at the drive through Covid-19 testing facility on the Crumlin Road near the Mater Hospital in north Belfast. Photo by Peter Morrison

A Covid-19 testing centre is opened opposite the Mater Hospital in the Crumlin Road Health Centre

A Covid-19 testing centre is opened opposite the Mater Hospital in the Crumlin Road Health Centre

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

A motorist is checked by NHS staff at the drive through Covid-19 testing facility on the Crumlin Road near the Mater Hospital in north Belfast. Photo by Peter Morrison

Two more people have died as a result of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland with confirmed cases passing the 300 mark.

On Saturday the Public Health Agency announced that 49 new cases were confirmed in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 324. From Friday 272 people were tested for the virus.

It is the biggest daily increase in cases to date. The death toll in Northern Ireland now stands at 15.

The death toll for the whole of the UK has risen by 260 to 1,019, by far the biggest day-on-day rise in the number of deaths since the outbreak began.

Fourteen more people have died in the Republic of Ireland, taking the country’s death toll to 36.

There are 294 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, with 2,415 cases in total.

On Saturday PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd reminded the public of the guidelines around public gatherings.

Police received reports of people gathering in Co Down on Tyrella and Murlough beaches and in Newcastle town centre.

"The public should be well aware of the advice from our public health partners and the Government about social distancing and movement and, on that basis, we would encourage people not to drive to local beauty spots for their daily exercise as others may have the same idea and social distancing may not be achievable," the Assistant Chief Constable said.

Meanwhile, updated guidelines on which businesses are deemed essential and non-essential have been published by the Northern Ireland Executive.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds and Health Minister Robin Swann have urged companies to prioritise the safety of their staff.

Mrs Dodds confirmed that she will establish a workplace safety engagement forum. It will include a broad range of stakeholders including local businesses, PHA, HSE, trade unions, councils and government.

“I am pleased to confirm that we are establishing an engagement forum - comprising key stakeholders and chaired by the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) - to discuss and review workplace safety and act as arbiter in any disputes. By working better together we can keep the workplace safe," she said.

UUP MLA Mr Swann issued a warning to companies still ignoring the guidelines.

“I want to thank all those companies who are doing the right thing and have the right measures in place. To those who are dragging their feet, I have to tell them that the time for excuses is long past,” he said.

On Friday Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both revealed they had tested positive for coronavirus.

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has confirmed he is also displaying symptoms.

Speaking at the UK Government's daily coronavirus press briefing on Saturday Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the Prime Minister is showing only "mild symptoms" of coronavirus.

He said: "He continues to lead the Government's effort in combating Covid-19, this morning he held a video conference call and he will continue to lead right from the front on this."

Here's how Saturday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph


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