Northern Ireland news

Covid postcode data shows fall across hotspots

Health minister Robin Swann is urging school pupils to download the StopCOVID NI app. Picture by Pacemaker
Seanin Graham and Paul Ainsworth

COVID postcode data has revealed a significant drop in cases across hotspots in west Belfast and Derry.

Despite a further eight deaths recorded yesterday and another 493 cases, there has been a fall in new infections over the last week across most parts of the north.

According to the Department of Health figures, BT11 in west Belfast saw the biggest weekly drop, alongside BT47 and BT48 in Derry city where concerns had been raised in recent weeks about the growing number of infections.

Andersonstown saw the biggest decrease, down more than 300 cases per 100,000 people. BT47 saw a fall of more than 200 and BT48 almost 300 per 100,000. Excluding BT2 and BT3, the only significant increase was BT55 (Portstewart).

Although also seeing a drop, Cookstown (BT80) remains the area with the most cases per 100,000 people. Police revealed that almost 50 people have been fined £1,000 for failing to self-isolate.

Since March the PSNI has handed out 47 of the top-tariff fines. They have also issued 1,775 penalty notices, which start at £60.

In addition, 449 prohibition notices have been issued, the majority concerning gatherings in private homes. Most of these enforcement measures were issued in Belfast followed by Derry and Strabane.

In its daily media update yesterday, the Department of Health revealed that a further eight people in Northern Ireland have died of coronavirus, while another 493 cases of infection have been recorded.

The figures show that the latest deaths take the north's overall confirmed death toll since the outbreak began to 724.

The new cases mean the total number of confirmed infections here to date now stands at 39,609.

The department said there are currently 379 patients being treated for Covid-19 in the north's hospital's, including 52 receiving care in ICU wards. Of those, 42 were on ventilators.

Read more: A joint approach to the Christmas period is to be looked at by devolved administrations

Meanwhile in the Republic there were a further two Covid-19 deaths, bringing the overall figure to 1,917.

The number of infections in the south to date now stands at 62,750 following the identification of 767 new cases.

Overall, the UK has recorded another 136 deaths, taking the confirmed toll to 46,853.

Having recently passed a million confirmed cases, another 18,950 infections has pushed the UK total to 1,053,864.

The latest coronavirus figures emerged as pupils across the north returned to schools following a two-week closure.

Health minister Robin Swann has urged pupils to download the StopCOVID NI app for smartphones in order to protect vulnerable relatives from coronavirus as winter approaches.

"The StopCOVID NI app is part of our fightback and my message to young people is please download the app, use it to help protect yourselves, your friends and your families, specially your grandparents who are more likely to be at risk of serious illness from coronavirus," Mr Swann said.

"I am delighted that so many of our citizens are already using the app. World-beating technology is helping us to keep people safe and defeat this awful virus, and I want young people to help us boost that number even further."

Meanwhile, members of a Co Armagh soccer club have been warned over goal celebrations that saw players run towards fans and breaching social distancing regulations.

An NIFL Danske Bank Premiership clash between Portadown FC and Warrenpoint Town on Saturday saw several Portadown players run towards fans following a goal by Stephen Murray. A number of fans in the stand rushed towards the players to cheer them on.

Six warnings were issued via the PA system at the game in Warrenpoint Town's Milltown grounds.

In a statement following the game, a spokesperson for Portadown FC said: "As a club we did not have control over arrangements around the location of supporters or social distancing measures at Warrenpoint. Our players are constantly reminded of their responsibilities not only for themselves but also to the general community."

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