First coronavirus death in Northern Ireland

A patient who tested positive for coronavirus has died in hospital in Northern Ireland.

According to the Department of Health, the patient was elderly and had an underlying medical condition.

The person was being treated in hospital in the greater Belfast area.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I want to express my deep sadness at this death and send my condolences to the patient’s family and friends. It is, of course, essential that we respect their privacy at this sad time.

“I would once again appeal to everyone to play their part in fighting the spread of this virus.”

The news comes after the First and deputy First Ministers announced the closure of Northern Ireland’s schools after Friday.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill held a press conference on Wednesday evening to address the current, unprecedented situation.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Health Minister Robin Swann outlined the first phase of health service measures to get Northern Ireland through the coronavirus surge period to mid-April.

They aim to prioritise essential services and free up capacity across the system.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know