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Think of bereaved families and don't take Easter break, plead ministers as five further deaths announced

  • Five further deaths and 84 new cases in NI, bringing death toll here to 78
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'responding to treatment'
  • Lockdown will be in place for the "foreseeable future"
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General view of Botanic Gardens in Belfast where police have been patrolling. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of Botanic Gardens in Belfast where police have been patrolling. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Agriculture minister Edwin Poots and Communities minister Deirdre Hargey

Agriculture minister Edwin Poots and Communities minister Deirdre Hargey

The Government has said keeping health workers safe is its priority (PA)

The Government has said keeping health workers safe is its priority (PA)

PA

The new Northern Ireland Nightingale Hospital has wards designed to treat coronavirus sufferers at Belfast City Hospital. April 7th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The new Northern Ireland Nightingale Hospital has wards designed to treat coronavirus sufferers at Belfast City Hospital. April 7th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

General view of Botanic Gardens in Belfast where police have been patrolling. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has pleaded with the public to think of the 78 families who lost loved ones amid the coronavirus outbreak and to not go out over Easter.

A further five patients have died after contracting the virus in Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed.

Agriculture minister Edwin Poots said Easter weekend is typically when the public would spend a lot of time in local forests and green areas.

"This Easter must be different from previous years, we must stay apart and we must stay at home. There can be no better way to show you care than to protect each other in this way," Mr Poots said.

Ms Hargey also revealed that universal credit claims have increased ten-fold over the past three weeks and are now numbering 45,000.

The Public Health Agency has also confirmed 84 more cases of the virus in Northern Ireland, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,339. So far 9,564 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

Here's how Wednesday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph