One more coronavirus death takes NI total to 194

One more person who tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland has sadly died, taking the total number to 194.

According to the Public Health Agency, testing has resulted in 159 new cases in the region.

The total number of confirmed cases in Northern Ireland now stands at 2,643.

UK-wide, a further 596 people with Covid-19 have lost their lives.

That takes the death toll of those who have died in hospital after testing positive to 16,060.

It is feared thousands more people with the virus have died in care homes and private settings.

The latest figures come against the backdrop of heavy criticism of the Westminster government’s early response to the global pandemic by a Sunday newspaper.

A wide-ranging Sunday Times report details how Prime Minister Boris Johnson missed five key Cobra committee meetings as the health crisis was gathering pace.

The report claims opportunities to lessen the impact of the outbreak in February and March were missed.

SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood has said reports about alleged Westminster complacency “leave very serious questions about crisis coordination across these islands”.

“The response to the coronavirus crisis isn’t a sectarian political issue. It isn’t a matter of scoring points, it’s about saving lives,” he said.

Mr Eastwood said it “underscores the need for a bespoke island-wide strategy” for testing and tracing “that avoids the mistakes other administrations have made”.

He added: “The SDLP is committed to constructively working with all parties in the Executive, as well as the British and Irish Governments, to manage our response to COVID-19 and save as many lives as possible.

“That is not a blank cheque for anyone to operate free from scrutiny when the stakes are so high. There is simply no margin for error.”

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know