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No new coronavirus deaths reported in Northern Ireland

There were new seven new confirmed cases of the virus reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 4,848.

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Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said Monday and Thursday would be ‘significant’ days for announcements (Handout/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said Monday and Thursday would be ‘significant’ days for announcements (Handout/PA)

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said Monday and Thursday would be ‘significant’ days for announcements (Handout/PA)

No new deaths with coronavirus in Northern Ireland were reported on Sunday.

No new coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in Northern Ireland for four days in a row earlier this week while two deaths were reported on Saturday. The total stands at 541.

There were new seven new confirmed cases of the virus reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 4,848 since the pandemic began.

Earlier, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said Executive announcements on Monday and Thursday on the easing of lockdown restrictions will be welcomed by the hospitality industry.

Ms O’Neill suggested that Monday and Thursday will be “significant days” in terms of announcements.

“We want to keep moving forward – we want to keep giving people that wee bit more to try to get back to some semblance of normality, so the hospitality sector is one, but there’s other sectors out there that are now asking for an indicative date and I think it’s important that we give them all indicative dates,” she told BBC Politics.

She said despite this, there is a need for caution and to “avoid a second wave if we can”.

“I want the hospitality to open up, but imagine if we were to open up now and have to shut everything down in four or six weeks?

“I’m working our way through our plan gradually and incrementally. We’re certainly in a good place, making positive steps forward, but we need to do it gradually.”

Since Saturday, people living alone have been able to reunite with their families after three months of coronavirus lockdown in Northern Ireland while the number who can meet outside while practising social distancing to limit the risk of transmission was increased from six to 10.

Ms O’Neill said she does not feel “any pressure whatsoever” to follow the Republic of Ireland and how it has eased its own lockdown measures.

Looking ahead, she said childcare and the reopening of schools will be the key issues.

“More people are returning to work but they need childcare – you can’t tell them to go back to work without saying what childcare will look like. We have asked the health and education ministers to bring forward the childcare recovery plan,” she said.

“For me, there is two key issues in the week ahead – what does school look like in September and what does childcare look like for our families?

“I have spent time last week speaking to many providers who are really unsure about what it is they need to open up. Parents have spoken to me about their worries regarding returning to work and childcare.”

PA