Coronavirus: Seven more deaths in North as UK total surpasses 5,000

Coronavirus: Seven more deaths in North as UK total surpasses 5,000

with reporting from Press Association

Seven more people have died from coronavirus in Northern Ireland, Stormont officials have reported.

First Minister Arlene Foster said most people in Northern Ireland were observing social distancing guidance as the total number of people who with the virus who have died in the North reached 70.

“It is essential in this critical period that we do not relax our guard, especially in the lead-up to and during the Easter period,” she said.

She said ministers would continue to work with private businesses which are shifting production lines to make protective equipment.

She expressed hope the testing of healthcare staff at Belfast’s SSE Arena will free up more frontline NHS staff to treat coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, a total of 5,373 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Sunday, the UK Department of Health said, up by 439 from 4,934 the day before.

The Department of Health in Britain said that, as of 9am on Monday, 208,837 people have been tested of which 51,608 tested positive.

So far, 252,958 tests have concluded, with 13,069 tests carried out on Sunday, excluding data from Northern Ireland.

The numbers come as the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains under observation at St Thomas’ hospital in London where he was said to be continuing to work on his official papers from his hospital bed.

In a tweet, the British Prime Minister said that he was in “good spirits” after being taken to hospital on the advice of his doctor to undergo some “routine tests”.

He said: “Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

“I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe," he said.

Earlier Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said he continued to lead the UK Government after spending a “comfortable” night.

The spokesman, however, declined to give details of any treatment he had received or when he might be discharged.

“The Prime Minister was admitted to hospital for tests last night as a precaution. The issue is that his symptoms remain persistent,” the spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister had a comfortable night at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and is in good spirits. He remains in hospital under observation.”

In Mr Johnson’s absence, the daily government coronavirus meeting was chaired by Dominic Raab, the UK Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State.

However, the UK Prime Minister’s spokesman said that he had received his ministerial red box containing his official papers and was continuing to work from the hospital.

“He continues to receive a box. The Prime Minister remains in charge of the Government.”

The spokesman dismissed a report in Russian state media that Mr Johnson was on a ventilator as “disinformation”.

“Our specialist Government units have seen a rise in false and misleading narratives since the coronavirus pandemic started. It’s vital that any disinformation is knocked down quickly,” the spokesman said.

Mr Johnson was tested positive for coronavirus on March 27 and had been self-isolating in the Downing Street flat.

The decision to admit him to hospital was taken on the advice of his doctor as the symptoms of a cough and a high temperature continued to persist more than a week after his original diagnosis.

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