Residents of Northern Ireland cannot let go of their guard for the next two weeks when an outbreak of coronavirus is predicted, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers have warned.
They spoke at a remote press conference where it emerged that there had been seven other deaths linked to Covid-19 at NI.
This brings the total number of NI-related deaths in the Covid-19 epidemic to 70.
The virus outbreak is expected to arrive at NI between April 6 and April 20.
The Public Health Agency said that another 69 cases of coronavirus had also been confirmed in Northern Ireland, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 1,158.
Meanwhile, the number of hospital deaths from coronavirus in the UK reached 5,373, an increase of 439 in one day, with 51,608 confirmed cases.
There have been 174 coronavirus-related deaths in the Republic of Ireland, where there are 5,364 confirmed cases.
Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill remotely conducted Monday’s daily press conference from their home for the first time.
Foster said the next two weeks were “critical,” thanking those who agreed to the social distance guidelines.
But she added: “It is essential in this period that we do not relax our guard, especially in the period before and during the Easter period. “
Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill said the executive will continue to reinforce the message that people must stay at home.
“It is not an Easter holiday, nor a time of relaxation for people,” she added.
“Now is the time for people to follow the letter of the law and the advice they have been given to stay at home and try to stop the spread. “
Coronavirus in Northern Ireland
The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers also welcomed the delivery of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers in Northern Ireland.
The first 5.5m PPE batch arrived in Belfast from Britain on Monday, comprising 1,320,000 aprons and 307,800 FFP3 respirators – which provide the highest level of protection.
O’Neill said the other priority should be to increase testing for the virus.
“There are plans to move forward with rapid intensification of testing, to increase testing for our health and social service workers, to increase testing for people in residential care settings, so I think that’s a step in the right direction, “she added. .
The ministers also condemned threats made against Health Minister Robin Swann after offensive comments were made against him on social media last week.
In other developments:
- July 12 parades canceled across Northern Ireland due to coronavirus outbreak
New car sales in Northern Ireland fell 56% in March compared with the same month last year
- Increase in executive housing rents for the first time in five years in Northern Ireland has been put on hold
- The three airports in Northern Ireland have started talks with the Department of Transport on continuing operations
- Belfast hotel to be used as facility for patients recovering from Covid-19
- The Health and Social Care Board has partnered with independent hospitals to treat urgent patients (non-Covid-19); Kingsbridge Private Hospital, Ulster Independent Clinic and Northwest Independent Hospital will provide up to 112 beds