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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Pubs not serving food to reopen next Wednesday

  • NI Department of Health death toll remains at 573
  • Chief medic warns of year wait for vaccine
  • Scroll down for live updates

Pubs that do not serve food in Northern Ireland will be able to reopen next Wednesday.

Enforceable regulations will be passed.

New coronavirus restrictions to the BT60 area, which covers parts of Co Armagh, have also been agreed by Stormont ministers.

There have been a further 149 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the last 24-hours, the Department of Health has said.

This brings the total number of cases to 8,780, including 689 in the last seven days.

No further deaths were reported on Thursday. The death toll stands at 573.

Coronavirus restrictions in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland subjected to localised measures became legally enforceable by police on Wednesday and repeat offenders face fines of up to £960.

The current estimate of the virus’ reproductive rate is 1.2.

The average number of new positive tests per day during the last seven days was 90 and incidence based on new positive tests was 33 per 100,000.

Chief scientific adviser Professor Ian Young said: “Over the last week, we have seen a plateauing in cases and an increase in hospital admissions.”

The seven-day average number of Covid-occupied beds increased from 16 to 21.

He added the proportion of cases in individuals aged more than 60 years has risen from under 10% to just under 16%, but remains significantly below wave one of the epidemic where around half of cases were in this age group.

“The current increase in cases in younger people is likely to lead to increasing cases in the over-60s with resulting pressure on the hospital system and, tragically, increasing deaths.”

Earlier on Thursday, DUP MP Gavin Robinson accused Health Minister Robin Swann of going on a solo run by imposing additional coronavirus restrictions on areas that had not agreed by the whole Executive.

The East Belfast MP said the addition of new areas including Carryduff, Four Winds and Dundonald to an interactive map published by the Department of Health on Wednesday night was not discussed in official minutes of Executive decision making.

Members of the public in BT16 and BT8 are now restricted under new regulations the Executive said last Thursday would only apply to households in places including the Belfast City Council area and Ballymena town.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme, Mr Robinson said it's resulted in a "lack of clarity, lack of consistency and the lack of any demonstration of necessity" around coronavirus messaging.

He said: "I do not believe that BT16 and BT8 form part of [Mr Swann's] recommendations to the Executive. I do not believe they featured because they do not fall within the Belfast City Council area.

"It does not form part of the official minutes of decision making of the Executive," he added. "Nor does it compare with the official messaging that has taken place since last Thursday and every day since."

The public information on available on official advice website NI Direct does not include those extra regulations on other areas, Mr Robinson added.

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Belfast Telegraph