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Covid mobile testing unit set up to tackle cluster in Co Down town

An amusement arcade in Newcastle is among three businesses affected by a coronavirus outbreak

A CLUSTER of coronavirus cases in a Co Down seaside town has led to the opening of a mobile testing unit in the grounds of a school.

St Mary's Primary in Newcastle be will used as a temporary facility following a spike in the number of people testing positive, resulting in the closure of three businesses including a popular amusement arcade over the past week.

South Down Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard, who asked the Public Health Agency to set up the unit, welcomed the move and appealed to anyone with Covid symptoms to avoid contact with others and urgently get tested.

Newry, Mourne and Down continues to have the highest number of cases, with 39 confirmed in the past week out of a total of 125 cases across 11 district areas.

Data released from the Department of Health yesterday showed a further 15 new cases of the virus have been recorded bringing the total number to 6,064 since the pandemic began in Northern Ireland.

In its weekly bulletin, Nisra confirmed the death toll for Covid-19 related deaths now stands at 855. The agency figures relate to fatalities in hospitals and communities where the virus is mentioned on a death certificate.

In the Republic, health authorities were last night notified of four additional deaths and 98 more cases of Covid-19.

The four deaths are from May, June, July and August.

There has now been a total of 1,772 coronavirus related deaths and 26,470 confirmed cases in the south.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's chief scientific advisor Prof Ian Young yesterday said face coverings would be "of some benefit" to older pupils when they go back to school.

However Education Minister Peter Weir told the BBC the wearing of face coverings in schools is "not implementable".

The Ulster Teachers' Union reiterated its opposition to pupils returning on a full-time basis next month, saying there are "big concerns" over how quickly schools could react to new guidance.

*Due to technical reasons, an incorrect story appeared in today's print edition. This is the correct version.

 

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