Northern Ireland news

Co Down sees spike in new coronavirus cases

The number of Covid-19 outbreak 'clusters' in the community is expected to rise as lockdown restrictions ease

CO DOWN has experienced the highest number of new coronavirus cases over the past week with a supermarket forced to close for a day after some staff tested positive.

The Barbican SuperValu in Newcastle shut for a "professional deep clean" yesterday and re-opened this morning.

Management said a "handful" of employees were confirmed as having Covid-19.

"As per HSC guidelines, contact tracing has taken place and some of our colleagues are now in self isolation for 14 days," a social media post said.

"The health of our colleagues and customers is our top priority and in line with guidance from health experts, the store is undergoing a professional deep clean as a precautionary measure...If you have been in store and are concerned, please contact the NHS 111 helpline service."

Meanwhile, a bar in Castlewellan also closed for deep cleaning earlier this week due to concerns about a potential outbreak.

Staff from Mulholland's Sports Bar were swabbed for the virus but all tested negative and the faculties re-opened.

Latest figures from the Department of Health dashboard show there have been 90 new positive cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the past week, with 27 in the Newry, Mourne and Down council area and 20 in Mid and East Antrim.

At total of 45 people in Newry, Mourne and Down tested positive over the past fortnight.

The Irish News reported at the weekend on a household outbreak in Newry where a frontline worker and members of his family tested positive.

The Public Health Agency said it was aware of "ongoing speculation" around current clusters but would not be commenting on individual cases as this could "lead to people being identified, create stigma and focus attention on individuals, families or groups, and therefore deter others with symptoms coming forward to be tested".

Eight new coronavirus cases were confirmed today, bring the total number of confirmed positive Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland to 5,996.

There have been no further deaths, with the death toll remaining at 556, according to department figures. These fatalities relate mainly to hospital deaths. Nisra data shows there have been 854 coronavirus related deaths in hospital and community settings.

With the number of clusters expected to increase as lockdown measures ease, a decision is expected on the mandatory wearing of face coverings.

Health minister Robin Swann wrote to his Executive colleagues at the weekend, called for a date to be brought forward on enforcing the measure.

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Northern Ireland news