Northern Ireland news

Conor Murphy becomes fourth NI minister to enter self-isolation

The Covid-19 death toll in Northern Ireland rose to 634 yesterday after five further deaths from the virus were recorded.
Marie Louise McConville

Conor Murphy last night become the fourth Stormont minister to enter self-isolation due to Covid-19 - as the north's death toll from the virus rose to 634.

It was revealed yesterday that there had been five further deaths from coronavirus and 1,042 new cases, bringing the overall total for the number of people who have tested positive in Northern Ireland to 31,034.

Of the new 1,042 cases, the highest number, 278, were in Belfast.

This was followed by 141 in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area and 115 in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 6,753 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past seven days in Northern Ireland.

Of these, 1,748 were in Belfast, 930 were in Derry and Strabane and 667 were in Mid-Ulster.

There are currently 291 people in hospital in the north with Covid-19.

Thirty-three of these are in intensive care while 23 are ventilated.

Mr Murphy, the finance minister, said he would be working from home for 14 days after a close family member tested positive. He said he does not currently have any symptoms.

He is the fourth Stormont minister to enter self-isolation.

On Wednesday night, health minister Robin Swann announced he had received a notification on his Covid app informing him he had been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case.

He also reported having no symptoms.

Deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill and Communities minister Caral Ni Chuilin have each been in isolation for more than a week after family members tested positive.

In addition, on Wednesday evening, Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart said he had tested positive for the virus.

He said he had been tested on Tuesday after feeling ill and suffering symptoms of a headache, as well as fatigue.

DUP MLA Pam Cameron and UUP East Belfast MLA Andy Allen also posted on social media on Wednesday 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 14 days."

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.

Sinn Féin MLA for west Belfast Orlaithi Flynn announced on Instagram last week that she was also required to self-isolate.

In the Republic, 1,066 new cases were recorded yesterday as well as three further deaths.

A total of 37 people are being treated in intensive care units.

Meanwhile, a nursing home in Co Galway is at the centre of a major outbreak of Covid-19.

Forty-two residents and staff at the Nightingale facility in Ahascragh have tested positive.

One resident has died, while two others have been admitted to hospital.

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