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New case of coronavirus confirmed in Northern Ireland

The infected person is an adult patient who had recently travelled from Italy and is linked to a previously confirmed positive case.

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A demonstration of Covid-19 checks at Antrim Area Hospital (Michael Cooper/PA)

A demonstration of Covid-19 checks at Antrim Area Hospital (Michael Cooper/PA)

A demonstration of Covid-19 checks at Antrim Area Hospital (Michael Cooper/PA)

A new case of coronavirus has been identified in Northern Ireland, bringing the total number of people diagnosed in the region to four.

The infected person is an adult patient who had recently travelled from Italy and is linked to a previously confirmed positive case.

Staff at the Public Health Agency are working to identify contacts the individual may have had.

Northern Ireland’s fourth case of Covid-19 was confirmed on Friday evening by health officials.

In total, 164 people have tested positive for Covid-19 across the UK.

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: “Further positive cases have been expected and we anticipate the number will increase in the days and weeks ahead.

“Northern Ireland remains in the containment phase and it is important to emphasise that.

“This will obviously be kept under constant review.”

It is understood that the fourth case has no implications for the Irish Republic as they did not travel across the border.

The latest case comes as the Republic confirmed five more cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in Ireland to 18.

These cases mean there are a total of 22 infected patients on the island of Ireland.

On Thursday, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said that officers could face 12-hour shifts and cancelled rest days if coronavirus has a serious impact on staffing levels.

The PSNI chief added that the potential impact of Covid-19 is very much unknown at this stage.

He said that contingency plans are in place if high numbers of his officers are struck down by the disease.

The Chief Constable said he is in discussions with Stormont’s Justice Department about securing bolstered powers to enable officers to detain affected people who might be unwilling to quarantine themselves.

He said he hoped powers handed to police in England could be replicated in Northern Ireland.

Two of the other cases in Northern Ireland had recently travelled from northern Italy, while the other had recent contact with a person elsewhere in the UK who has tested positive for coronavirus.

PA