Northern Ireland news

Lateral flow testing extended until July 31 amid rise in Covid cases

Lateral flow testing in the north has been extended until July 31 amid a rise in Covid cases

LATERAL flow testing in Northern Ireland has been extended until July 31 amid a rise in Covid cases.

Tests will remain available to people with symptoms, health and social care staff and some people visiting others in health and care facilities until the end of the month.

Despite the rise in cases, the Public Health Agency's contact tracing service, which has been phased out over the last few months, formally ended yesterday.

However, the agency is expected to reintroduce contact tracing if a significant Covid wave emerges.

The self-isolation period after a positive Covid test has also been reduced to five days for adults and three days for children under 18.

Health Minister Robin Swann said after a period of lower Covid cases infections are now on the rise.

"Whilst prevalence continues to be relatively high, thankfully the overall risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death for those who contract Covid-19 is much lower than during previous waves," he said.

"That said, we continue to see severe pressures in our hospitals and the contribution of Covid-19, even though admission numbers are smaller than in previous waves, adds to these pressures."

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Northern Ireland news