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Coronavirus updates: First Northern Ireland cases of community transmission as nine new cases confirmed

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An emergency department nurse outside the coronavirus pod at Antrim Area Hospital (Michael Cooper/PA)

An emergency department nurse outside the coronavirus pod at Antrim Area Hospital (Michael Cooper/PA)

The split in the Executive over the coronavirus response had been laid bare. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The split in the Executive over the coronavirus response had been laid bare. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

An emergency department nurse outside the coronavirus pod at Antrim Area Hospital (Michael Cooper/PA)

The first "community transmission" cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Northern Ireland.

It comes as nine new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed, bringing the total number to 29. Three of those resulted following community transmission.

Of the 29 people who tested positive, 18 are male and 11 are female and just five are over the age of 60.

It's the largest rise in a single day, up from an increase of two on Thursday and two on Wednesday.

It comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe the "epicentre" of the pandemic.

A total of 321 tests have been completed in Northern Ireland, in cases where people met the case definition for suspected coronavirus.

"A significant number of further tests have been carried out for surveillance and clinical purposes, for example, for patients in intensive care and other hospital settings with respiratory symptoms," a Department of Health spokesperson said.

Health Minister Robin Swann has said health service activity across Northern Ireland will be severely curtailed due to coronavirus.

Affected services will include non-urgent outpatient appointments, day cases, inpatient and diagnostic work. The process of scaling back provision will be phased in over the days and weeks ahead.

GPs will prioritise work to address coronavirus cases and practices may reduce certain services.

Currently, only non-urgent outpatients, day case, inpatient and diagnostic services will be reduced. Suspect cancer cases and other urgent care will continue, unless advised by the applicable Trust.

Meanwhile, Belfast City Council has announced they will close City Hall to tours and exhibitions, as well as Belfast Zoo and several amenities in the Botanic Gardens. However, they will not close leisure centres.

Belfast Telegraph


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