Northern Ireland reports five deaths and 1,042 cases of Covid-19

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Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann
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Digital Desk Staff

Northern Ireland's Department of Health has today announced a further five deaths and an additional 1,042 cases of Covid-19.

26 people have died with Covid-19 in the last week, with some of the reported fatalities occurring outside the reporting period.

With coronavirus numbers remaining high the Northern Executive was meeting on Thursday to discuss its continuing response to the virus but with four of its Ministers in self-isolation.

The North's Minister for Finance Conor Murphy was the latest to say he had to self-isolate and would be working from home for 14 days after a close family member tested positive for the virus.

On Wednesday night, Minister for Health Robin Swann said he too had to quarantine for two weeks after his Covid app told him he had identified as a close contact of a confirmed case.

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Speaking at a briefing today, Health Minister Swann said:

“Unfortunately, the predictions that were made about the increase in cases and the consequences this will bring are coming true.

“This is undoubtedly a public health emergency. The response challenges every aspect of our society and our sense of community: it requires us to reduce our contacts with each other, to keep our distance; it has the potential to seriously damage livelihoods and life opportunities.

"If we continue to stand together, we can prevent the worst. We can help so many individuals and families right across all walks of life who are having a very difficult time."

He said it is a time for a united front across the community and said people "must not be distracted or deflected" from what they have to do. "If we strictly follow public health advice and restrictions, we can push infection rates down" he said.

He added “The people of Northern Ireland are resilient and I know we can dig in and get through this winter together. We have been through tough times before. We are at our best when we stick together. There will be better times ahead.”

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