Northern Ireland news

NI Covid-19 app downloaded more than 79,000 times

Stormont health minister Robin Swann with the Republic's health minister Stephen Donnelly launching the StopCovid NI app, which interacts with the south's app

A mobile phone app for tracking and tracing coronavirus in Northern Ireland was downloaded more than 79,000 times in its first 24 hours.

The StopCovid NI app was officially launched yesterday after being released on Thursday.

A new TV advertisement and public information campaign will be rolled out to encourage people to download it.

The app informs people if they have been in close contact with other users who have tested positive for Covid-19.

Stormont health minister Robin Swann described the early uptake as "really encouraging".

It came as the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency's weekly bulletin recording coronavirus-linked deaths in Northern Ireland recorded a rise for the first time since mid-June.

Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate for seven deaths registered in the week ending July 24 – up five from the week before.

This brings its total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 853.

The number recorded by the Department of Health for the same period was 556. Those figures are based on patients who had previously tested positive for the virus.

Yesterday the department said 10 more positive cases had been detected in the region, bringing the total number infected to 5,948.

No new deaths were recorded.

In the Republic, another 38 cases of coronavirus were confirmed, bringing its total to 26,065.

No new deaths were recorded, leaving the south's total at 1,763.

The figures came as the shielding period ended for around 80,000 vulnerable people in Northern Ireland.

Those with serious medical conditions were able to venture outside yesterday for the first time since March.

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