Northern Ireland news

Stormont continuing to work on 'effective enforcement regime' for Covid-19 restrictions

STORMONT is continuing to consider how to ensure there is an "effective enforcement regime" for coronavirus restrictions, the First Minister has said.

Arlene Foster said the Covid-19 enforcement group has widened what it is looking at, after being focused on breaches of restrictions in the Holylands area of south Belfast in recent weeks.

Speaking at the assembly yesterday, Mrs Foster said: "We are continuing to work with our partners, the PSNI, local government and indeed everyone else involved in enforcement, so that we can make sure that as well as having restrictions in place, there is an effective enforcement regime as well."

People from different households in the north can no longer mix indoors following a tightening of restrictions by the executive in response to growing numbers of cases.

The First Minister also revealed that a live public address she made with Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill last week was watched by more than 230,000 people on the BBC alone.

A further 220 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by Stormont's Department of Health yesterday.

It brings the total number of infections to 10,949 – including 1,513 notified within the last seven days.

There were no further deaths recorded, leaving the total at 578, with 51 people currently being treated in hospital - with six in intensive care.

In the Republic, an additional 390 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed.

There were no further virus-related deaths, leaving the toll at 1,802.

The south's acting chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said there is a particularly high incidence of the virus in Donegal and Dublin, and rapidly increasing numbers in Cork, Galway, Monaghan and Roscommon.

A healthcare worker who spent 68 days on a ventilator battling Covid-19 attended the National Public Health Emergency Team daily press conference yesterday to urge the public to take the virus seriously.

Jerick Martin, who is in his thirties, said he feels lucky to be alive.

"I spent 68 days in intensive care, most of that time on a ventilator, in an induced coma," he said.

"I was told by my doctor that I would be in the induced coma for a few days, but I actually woke up two months later.

"The impact of that is very frightening and it will have long-lasting effects."

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