Northern Ireland news

Coronavirus: UK cases up 83 in 24 hours with two more reported in Northern Ireland

Both were secondary transmissions that can be traced to a previously reported case that involved recent travel to Northern Italy.
Digital staff

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.

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