Northern Ireland registers record number of Covid-19 cases

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Press Association
Northern Ireland has registered a record number of Covid-19 cases, with 320 people testing positive for the disease in the past 24 hours.

No more deaths were recorded, with the toll remaining at 578.

15 per cent of all the North's total 11,269 cases have been recorded in the past week, with 1,702 cases notified within the last seven days.

(It will) inevitably lead to an increase in hospital admissions and deaths.

The figures come as an 11pm curfew has been announced for the hospitality sector in the region.

The North’s First Minister Arlene Foster told the Stormont Assembly the measure was being introduced to attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Mrs Foster described the increase in cases as “of serious concern to the Executive”, and said if not stopped, it will “inevitably lead to an increase in hospital admissions and deaths”.

Enforcement

The new curfew will apply from midnight on Wednesday to pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes as well as hotel and guesthouse bars.

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Pubs and eateries are being asked to call last orders at 10.30pm before closing at 11pm.

Mrs Foster added: “In practise, this brings the normal closing times forward by half an hour and there will be no late licensing.

“The intention behind the earlier closing time is that socialising later in the evening is considered to increase the risk of virus spreading because people adhere to the rules less strictly after consuming alcohol and in venues where they are used to mixing freely.

“There can be no exceptions to this, so weddings and other important social events will also be required to comply.”

The First Minister said the arrangements will be subject to enforcement.

It is a later closing time than the rest of the UK, where a 10pm curfew has been introduced, but earlier than the 11.30pm curfew in the Republic.

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