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Coronavirus updates: Visiting loved ones 'too great a risk', says Health Minister after 18 further deaths in Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland's hospital death toll reaches 158 after 18 further deaths - the largest single-day increase here
  • UK-wide hospital death toll hits 13,828 - up 870
  • Republic's death toll reaches 486 - up 43
  • Stormont Health Minister asks Northern Ireland Critical Care Network to review hospital visiting guidelines
  • UK lockdown extended for at least three more weeks, says Dominic Raab
  • Scroll down for coverage as it happened

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Staff outside Belfast City Hospital's tower block, which is Northern Ireland's first Nightingale Hospital, hold a short event at 8.00pm on Thursday April 16 to recognise and acknowledge the public support during a Clap for Blue Light Services. Photo by Kelvin Boyes  / Press Eye.

Staff outside Belfast City Hospital's tower block, which is Northern Ireland's first Nightingale Hospital, hold a short event at 8.00pm on Thursday April 16 to recognise and acknowledge the public support during a Clap for Blue Light Services. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Staff outside Belfast City Hospital's tower block, which is Northern Ireland's first Nightingale Hospital, hold a short event at 8.00pm on Thursday April 16 to recognise and acknowledge the public support during a Clap for Blue Light Services. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Health Minister Robin Swann has said that people will not be able to visit their critically ill loved ones who are dying as a result of Covid-19.

Mr Swann said he has spoken to a number of senior clinicians and their opinion was that visiting an intensive care unit was "too great a risk".

However he said he had asked the Northern Ireland Critical Care Network to review the issue.

He said that one visitor would be allowed onto a general ward to visit their loved ones who are "sadly passing away".

It comes after a further 18 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in Northern Ireland's hospitals - the largest single-day increase since the outbreak began.

Mr Swann said the deaths should be a "wake-up call" to anyone who is getting complacent about the pandemic.

This brings the death toll in the region to 158.

A further 113 positive cases have also been confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,201

A total of 14,240 people have been tested for the virus in Northern Ireland.

UK-wide, a further 870 people have died, bringing the death toll to 13,828.

In the Republic, 43 deaths were reported on Thursday - the highest reported in a single day, bringing the total to 486.

Here's how Thursday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph