Four more coronavirus-related deaths recorded in NI

NI remains under tight lockdown restrictions which have now largely been extended until 1 April. Credit: Presseye

Four more people who tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland have died in the last 24-hour reporting period, according to the Department of Health.

It brings the official death toll as recorded by the department to 2,036, although that figure is expected to increase significantly when deaths in all community settings have been accounted for.

The latest figures also show there have been 187 new positive cases, out of 1,077 individuals tested.

In the last seven days, there have been 2,079 positive cases.

There are currently 386 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospitals across Northern Ireland – 51 of them in intensive care and 41 on ventilators.

Bed occupancy is at 94%.

There are also 44 confirmed and active Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes – down by 35 in the last seven days.

It comes as the roll-out of the vaccination programme for Northern Ireland is said to be continuing at pace, with the SSE Arena in Belfast to open in April for anyone aged 60 and under not already vaccinated by their GP or health trust.

That has been described as a “monumental next step” by Health Minister Robin Swann.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that all adults in the UK will be offered a coronavirus vaccine first dose by the end of July.

He said the accelerated roll-out would help protect the most vulnerable sooner and enable the easing of some restrictions in place to curb the spread of coronavirus and alleviate pressure on the health service.

It is thought it takes around three weeks after a person receives a vaccine for them to build up an effective level of immunity.

Restrictions in Northern Ireland were due to lapse on 8 March, but were last week largely extended to 1 April with some minor easements.