Northern Ireland news

Aaron Doherty (17) from Derry is north's youngest Covid victim

Aaron Doherty (17) from Derry's Creggan area died in Altnagelvin Hospital
Seamus McKinney and Allison Morris

THE father of the youngest person to die in Northern Ireland linked to Covid-19 has paid an emotional tribute to “my beautiful son”.

Nine more deaths were reported on Wednesday, including that of 17-year-old Aaron Doherty from Derry’s Creggan area.

It is understood the teenager, who had underlying health conditions, tested positive some weeks ago before a second test came back negative last week. However, he became ill again on Monday evening and was admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital where he died on Tuesday morning.

In a post on social media, his father Jim ‘Tucker’ Doherty posted a picture of Aaron with the message: “My beautiful son. Rest in Peace. Love you.”

A keen Celtic fan, Aaron was a former player with Ballymoor FC in Derry and as news of his death spread, tributes were paid by sports organisations throughout the city and beyond. The teenager’s funeral will take place on Thursday following Requiem Mass at St Columba’s Church, Long Tower.

It came as 840 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday and almost 450 hospital beds were occupied by Covid patients, with 44 people in intensive care. Hospitals struggled to cope at 103 per cent of their capacity, with 221 people awaiting admission.

Belfast emergency department consultant Dr John Maxwell issued a plea for the public to stick with the coronavirus regulations, saying staff feared “this could be one of the worst winters” the north’s NHS will experience.

While Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride said the seven-day rolling average of new cases has begun to fall, he also warned that the decline was slow and the trajectory “remains uncertain”.

“We would ask everyone at this point to redouble their efforts over the next number of weeks,” he said.

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Northern Ireland news