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Thirteen Covid deaths recorded over weekend as Swann calls for 'continued vigilance'

Health minister Robin Swann has said the latest deaths from Covid in the north are a 'stark reminder' of the impact of the virus
Paul Ainsworth

THE north's health minister Robin Swann has warned of the need for a "collective effort" to tackle Covid-19 after 13 more deaths were reported over the weekend.

The Department of Health revealed on Saturday that eight people had died after contracting Covid.

The following day it said an additional five people had lost their lives following infection.

According to the department, there have now been 2,194 Covid deaths.

Separate figures released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) shows a much higher total of 3,006.

The Nisra figure is drawn from different data sources than the toll reported by the department.

It is always higher as it provides a broader picture of the impact of Covid-19.

Sunday also saw another 1,072 new cases of coronavirus infection reported in the north, bringing the confirmed number of cases to 155,268.

"Every death is hugely regrettable and I extend my sympathy to all families who have been bereaved over the last 18 months," Mr Swann said.

Stating that the latest deaths provided a "stark reminder of the devastating impact that this pandemic can have", the minister added: "It will only be through continued vigilance and a collective effort that we can protect ourselves and those we care for."

As of Sunday, there were a total of 232 Covid inpatients at hospitals across the north, of which 32 were being treated in intensive care wards.

In the Republic, meanwhile, the number of hospital inpatients being treated for Covid was 163 on Sunday, of which 26 were receiving intensive care.

No further Covid deaths were reported in the south during the weekend, while Sunday saw 1,098 new cases of infection recorded.

To date, the total number of confirmed infections in the Republic stands at 302,074, while the number of confirmed Covid fatalities remains at 5,035.

Meanwhile, the number of people vaccinated on both sides of the border is continuing to rise.

In the north, mass vaccination centres, including the SSE Arena in Belfast, reported a surge of visitors on Saturday as they prepared to stop offering first doses to adults.

With the winding down of mass vaccination centres, jabs will be offered through pharmacies and mobile clinics.

As of Sunday, there has been 2,262,641 vaccine doses administered in Northern Ireland, and 1,043,909 people have now had both required jabs.

In the south, the number of double jabbed people is now 3,307,341.

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