Coronavirus: UK cases up 83 in 24 hours with two more reported in Northern Ireland
Two more adults have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number in Northern Ireland to 18.
Both were secondary transmissions that can be traced to a previously reported case that involved recent travel to Northern Italy.
The total number of UK cases has jumped by 83 over the past 24 hours to 456.
In Northern Ireland there have been 246 concluded tests, of which 228 were negative, and 18 were positive.
Health chiefs brace themselves for an increase in the number of cases and are planning for a significant proportion of the population potentially requiring hospital care.
Space is being set aside in the Mater Hospital in the north of the city.
Belfast’s largest hospital is the Royal Victoria but it is the main centre in Northern Ireland for a lot of specialities and contains patients who are immuno-suppressed.
A small number of medical procedures are not going ahead in Belfast in preparation for Covid-19.
A spokesman for the local health service said: “A very small number of procedures (fewer than five) are not going ahead but the vast majority are continuing.
“Like all trusts, we are planning to provide care for patients who are positive with Covid-19 and who will need hospital care in the coming weeks.
“These arrangements will involve identifying wards and prioritising care for the sickest patients.”
Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has warned that some medical procedures may need to be cancelled if the worst predictions of coronavirus materialise.
The Belfast Health Trust delivers services in the city and cancellation of operations could worsen long waiting times for care.
Its statement added: “Elective surgery has not being cancelled in Belfast Trust.
“We are looking at how best to do this across all our sites and we will work with our staff, Department of Health, Public Health Agency and the Health and Social Care Board.”
Older people and patients with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and asthma are more likely to become severely ill.
It comes as:
- The Bank of England announces emergency rate cut to 0.25%
- Northern Ireland health chiefs warn 'it's a matter of time' before community transmission
- No plans to ban mass gatherings in Northern Ireland due to coronavirus
- A Linfield player tests positive for coronavirus
- Naomi Campbell arrives at airport in hazmat suit amid Covid-19 outbreak
- NI Education minister Peter Weir told the Assembly there were no plans to cancel any exams, but he acknowledged the situation regarding Covid-19 was evolving rapidly.
- Health Minister Nadine Dorries became the first MP to be diagnosed with Covid-19.
- The GAA says it is considering “various different options” to deal with the threat of coronavirus
- Hospitality industry calls for VAT and rates support to cope with impact of coronavirus
- Businesses look to the Chancellor for solace as recession fears increase
- A not-for-profit city farm in Sheffield has thanked the public for donations after thieves stole all the toilet rolls from the popular visitor attraction.
- Stormont leaders cancelled a St Patrick’s trip to Washington DC
- A Halifax call centre in Belfast closes for deep clean after a staff member contracted the virus
- Two schools in Co Armagh are already closed for deep cleaning after a young person was diagnosed with Covid-19
- St Patrick’s Day festivities iacross the country are postponed.
- Omniplex introduce 'seat separation' across its cinemas where every other seat will be left empty