Covid-19: Seven deaths and 533 cases in North amid concern over Christmas

Covid-19: Seven Deaths And 533 Cases In North Amid Concern Over Christmas Covid-19: Seven Deaths And 533 Cases In North Amid Concern Over Christmas
Dr Tom Black urged the 'matriarchs of Northern Ireland' to ensure families remember social distancing. Photo: PA Wire.
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By Press Association

A further seven people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, according to the region's Department of Health.

The death toll recorded by the department now stands at 954, while there were also another 533 confirmed cases of the virus recorded in the last 24-hour reporting period.

The department’s daily dashboard said today’s infections figure may be higher than normal due to an “issue with the flow of data” on lab tests carried out through the NHS nationwide programme, which saw yesterday’s figure lower than expected.

A total of 50,676 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since the pandemic began.

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill announced on Tuesday that people from three households will be allowed to meet indoors for five days over the Christmas period as part of a UK-wide deal.



Dr Tom Black, chairman of the British Medical Association’s Northern Ireland Council, urged the “matriarchs of Northern Ireland” to ensure families remember social distancing if they mix over Christmas.

“It’ll be women that will be deciding this and they know that 18 to 20 people in a room hugging is a bad idea,” he told the BBC.

“But they also know if they can push it to eight or ten – or maybe 12 if that brings in granny – and we try not to hug granny and we try and maintain distance as best we can and maybe do a buffet instead of passing dishes around a table, that is a way to limit the risk in this.”

The Stormont Executive is set to meet on Thursday to discuss arrangements for Christmas further.

They must make this decision now instead of the eleventh hour

Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector is seeking assurances from the executive that it can reopen on December 11th.

The hospitality sector, along with non-essential retail and close contact services, will close for two weeks from Friday as part of circuit-break restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus before Christmas.

Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said: “If the Executive decides to make the unfortunate call to continue with the lockdown over (the) Christmas period they must make this decision now instead of the eleventh hour.

“We’ve been in situations in the last few months when decisions have been made way too late which causes huge confusion and additional financial losses within the sector. This simply cannot happen again.”

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