Weekly Northern Ireland Covid figures reflect dramatic reduction in deaths

The latest weekly coronavirus statistics have reflected the dramatic drop in the number of deaths with the virus.

Figures compiled by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) record just one death with Covid-19 in the week ending July 31.

It comes as figures compiled by the Department of Health – based on those who have tested positive for coronavirus – recorded no deaths on Friday for the 24th day in a row.

The Nisra figures – based on information entered on death certificates by medical professionals – have recorded 855 Covid-19 related deaths to July 31.

Of these, 449 (52.5 per cent) took place in hospital, 349 (40.8 per cent) in care homes, eight (0.9 per cent) in hospices and 49 (5.7 per cent) at residential addresses or other locations.

The 357 deaths which occurred in care homes and hospices involved 81 separate establishments.

The comparative number of deaths reported daily by the Department of Health to July 31 was 556.

People aged 75 and over account for 80 per cent of all Covid-19-related deaths.

However, while the number of deaths with the virus has fallen, Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster voiced concern over the level of community transmission and rise in the R number to between 0.8 and 1.8.

On Thursday the Stormont Executive announced that face coverings will become mandatory in all public enclosed spaces from Monday.

Commenting on the increase to the R number, chief scientific adviser Professor Ian Young said: “The most recent data for Northern Ireland underlines the need for continued vigilance.

“There are five key steps each of us can take to keep ourselves and others safe – rigorously maintain social distancing; wash our hands well and often; wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult; co-operate fully with the Test, Trace and Protect programme, and download the Stop Covid NI app.”