Swann monitoring situation as more report symptoms
Almost 21,000 people in Northern Ireland are suffering from long Covid, it has been revealed.
But there is still insufficient data to allow for a thorough analysis of the condition locally.
Nationally, research is continuing as more patients report symptoms long after the 12-week recovery period from Covid-19.
They include fatigue, breathlessness, muscle aches, joint pain, ‘brain fog’, memory loss, lack of concentration and depression.
Other have reported changes to their hearing, stomach problems, skin rashes, hair loss, dizziness and palpitations.
The extent of the problem in Northern Ireland was revealed by the Office for National Statistics.
Health Minister Robin Swann is in the process of setting out a plan to tackle the condition.
He said: “Although the recording of data on the condition continues in Northern Ireland, there will be insufficient data to conduct analysis for a number of months.
“[Long Covid patients] usually present with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which can fluctuate and change over time and can affect any system in the body.
“In the interim, the available evidence and research on the prevalence at a UK level continues to be monitored.”
A further 1,520 local cases of Covid-19 were reported to the Department of Health yesterday.
There was one further death of a patient who had previously tested positive for the virus.
As of yesterday morning, there 163 Covid-positive patients in hospital, with 16 in intensive care.
In total, 2,200,125 vaccines have been administered.
In the Republic, draft guidelines for the hospitality sector have been published ahead of the reopening of indoor dining tomorrow.
The long-awaited rules were published late on Friday night, leaving publicans and restaurateurs with just two days to implement the comprehensive plans.
Only those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months will be allowed to eat and drink indoors.
The rules say all restaurants and pubs will have to record the details of every customer for contact tracing.
Personal details will have to be produced, alongside a copy of a Covid certificate, to show they are either fully vaccinated or have had the virus.
All patrons, expect those under the age of 18, will be required to provide their name and phone number.
The data will be retained for 28 days and must be compliant with GDPR rules.
The information will be recorded for both walk-ins and pre-bookings.
The guidelines, Published by Failte Ireland, also say that a maximum of six people over the age of 13 are allowed at each table.
The limit of six does not include children aged 12 or younger and the total combined capacity at a table cannot exceed 15.
Customers can avail of table service but cannot approach or order from the bar or other counter.
They are required to wear face coverings at all times, other than when seated at their table.
Musical performances, dancing and mingling between tables is not allowed and multiple tables cannot be booked.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged the new system would be “inconvenient” but said it was the only way to reopen the sector.