Northern Ireland news

MLA John Stewart tests positive for Covid-19 as six others isolate

John Stewart confirmed in a social media post that he has contracted Covid-19 
Michelle Devane, PA

One MLA has tested positive for Covid-19 and six more MLAs are self-isolating as cases of coronavirus continue to surge.

The UUP's John Stewart tweeted last night night that he had been tested after feeling ill and suffering symptoms of a headache, as well as fatigue.

"Sadly I have tested positive for Covid-19 today. Felt really unwell Monday, booked a test Tuesday & result today," he said.

"Very fast & efficient. Feeling ill, head pounding & really fatigued."

The East Antrim MLA added: "Have completed track & trace / Stop COVIDNI App & now self-isolating #InThisTogether."

Health minister Robin Swann confirmed in a tweet on last night that he had come in contact with someone with Covid-19.

The Department of Health said Mr Swann was self-isolating after receiving a notification via the StopCovidNI proximity app that he had come in contact with someone who tested positive.

A statement from the department said he will fulfil his ministerial responsibilities from home for 14 days.

The North Antrim MLA has no symptoms of the virus and the department said he will only require a test if he develops one of the symptoms of coronavirus.

On Twitter he urged people to download the app to halt the spread of the virus.

An exposure notification from the app means the user had been close to another user who has tested positive.

Self-isolation is required for 14 days after a person receives a notification.

DUP MLA Pam Cameron and UUP East Belfast MLA Andy Allen posted on social media that they are also self-isolating after receiving alerts via the app.

Ms Cameron tweeted: "The 'ping' you don't want from your phone...Now self-isolating for 14days."

Responding to Ms Cameron, independent MLA Trevor Lunn said he was also self-isolating, and was on his fourth day of doing so.

"It's a pain but necessary. I'm four days in," he said.

Mr Allen said he too had received a notification from the StopCovidNI app on Wednesday evening and that he would be isolating.

In a Facebook post he wrote: "Thankfully I am symptom free but as required will be self-isolating for 14 days - although self-isolating I will continue to be available and assist where I can."

It comes after Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and Stormont communities minister Caral Ni Chuilin announced they were self-isolating.

The deputy first minister is self-isolating after a relative tested positive. She has so far tested negative for the virus.

Ms Ni Chuilin said on October 11 she would quarantine for 14 days after a close family member contracted Covid-19. The politician has also tested negative for the virus.

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