No new Covid-19 deaths announced in Northern Ireland

The daily update from the Department of Health on Saturday revealed there were no positive results in the 995 tests analysed in their labs through Friday. The figures do not include samples taken in drive-in National Testing Centres, which are analysed through a UK-wide NHS arrangement involving private laboratories. The actual number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in the region is significantly greater than 545, as many have occurred outside a hospital setting, in care homes and domestic dwellings. Commenting on Saturday on the low infection rate, Health Minister Robin Swann said: “We continue to make significant progress in forcing the virus into retreat. It is vital that we all maintain this progress and keep following public health advice on social distancing and washing our hands.” Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride cautioned against complacency. Please stay safe and save lives.” The suppression of the virus in the region has prompted Stormont ministers to quicken Northern Ireland’s exit out of lockdown. They are also seeking to maximise the number of children who can return to school on a full-time basis in the autumn by reducing the social distancing measure for pupils from two to one metres.