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Three more Covid-19 deaths reported in N Ireland

Another 138 positive cases of the virus were also notified by the Department of Health on Sunday.

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A deserted street in Derry City’s main shopping area during Northern Ireland’s national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus which has been extended again until April 1 (Liam McBurney/PA)

A deserted street in Derry City’s main shopping area during Northern Ireland’s national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus which has been extended again until April 1 (Liam McBurney/PA)

A deserted street in Derry City’s main shopping area during Northern Ireland’s national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus which has been extended again until April 1 (Liam McBurney/PA)

There have been a further three deaths with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

Another 138 positive cases of the virus were also notified by the Department of Health on Sunday.

Coronavirus remained a significant presence in hospitals across the region at the weekend, with 227 Covid-positive inpatients on Sunday, of whom 33 were in intensive care.

The numbers represent a significant reduction from earlier in the year when more than 1,000 new cases were being reported each day.

Meanwhile, as the number of doses of coronavirus vaccinations administered in Northern Ireland passed the 600,000 mark, First Minister Arlene Foster expressed concern at the pace of the programme in the Irish Republic.

Mrs Foster said it is her desire that everyone on the island is vaccinated as quickly as possible.

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“There will have to be conversations about how we move forward in this,” she told RTE Radio’s This Week programme.

Mrs Foster said chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has made it clear that if a lot of people are coming to Northern Ireland who are not vaccinated it “could have an impact on the efficacy” of the vaccine on those who have received it.

She said that so far Stormont has advised people to be sensible rather than issue a ban on crossing the border.

“That’s something we haven’t done unlike the Republic, we have never had that rule, we have tried to say to people to be sensible and not move between different jurisdictions during the different lockdowns,” she said.

“But I think we want to take advice from our medical experts on all of these issues.”

Monday will see the first step out of the lockdown that has been in place in December following a spike in coronavirus numbers.

P1 to P3 pupils will return to class on Monday but are set to go back to remote learning after two weeks.

No date has yet been announced for the wider return of all children to school.

The Stormont Executive published its blueprint for exiting lockdown restrictions last week.

It focuses on nine key areas – retail, hospitality, education and young people, work, culture, heritage and entertainment, sports and leisure, travel and tourism, worship and ceremonies, home and community.

Ministers were criticised for not including dates for the return of each sector.

But they said decisions on moving between stages will be based on scientific and medical evidence, not the calendar.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has said ministers hope the process of exiting lockdown will be well advanced by June 10.

PA


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