Enhanced testing amid rise in Delta coronavirus cases

A total 254 confirmed and probable cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant have been recorded in Northern Ireland.

The latest figures for the UK regions were published by Public Health England on Friday.

Meanwhile, enhanced coronavirus testing is being rolled out in parts of Omagh and Ballymoney after a number of suspected Delta cases were identified.

Mobile testing units have been put in place in these areas and asymptomatic people in selected, targeted neighbourhoods are being asked to get tested.

The Public Health Agency said it will be contacting households by post.

Dr Bríd Farrell said: "We encourage all those eligible in the neighbourhoods identified by the agency to present for testing, preferably within 24-72 hours of receiving their letter.

“We are particularly interested in people in the 18 to 40 age group coming forward for testing as we are seeing more cases of the delta variant in this age group throughout NI."

New figures from the Department of Health also reveal 178 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the past 24 hours.

906 people have now tested positive for the virus in the past week.

No new Coronavirus related deaths were announced meaning the Department's death toll remains at 2,155.

The Southern Trust says a total of 200,000 coronavirus vaccinations have now been administered at the SSE Arena vaccination centre in Belfast.

Dr Farrell reminded people of the importance of receiving a second dose of the vaccine.

"Everyone over the age of 18 who has not yet booked their vaccine should do so now – if you have had your first dose, make sure you attend for your second one," she said.

"Two doses of the vaccine appears to have a high degree of effectiveness against the delta variant, and getting it will not only help protect you, but also more vulnerable members of our community."

In its latest update, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency said Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate of two more people in the week up to 11 June.

The total number of Covid-19 related deaths registered in NI has now reached 2,978.