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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all until tomorrow...

    That's it for another night - thank you for taking the time to follow along with us.

    Here are some of the things you might have missed today:

    • Questions remain about exactly how unified the DUP and Sinn Féin are on certain aspects of the coronavirus strategy, but they presented a unified front at this afternoon's press briefing
    • Some prisoners are set to be released from Northern Ireland's prisons early as part of efforts to deal with the coronavirus - currently, around 20% of NI's prison officers are off duty due to the pandemic
    • New coronavirus assessment centres have opened in Belfast, Dungannon and Banbridge
    • A senior doctor in charge of one of NI's busiest emergency departments has said the public can "be heroes, and save lives” by following restrictions
    • The Department for Communities published measures aimed at helping to keep people unable to pay their rent in their homes

    We will back with you again from 8:00 BST tomorrow on the BBC News NI website, with live updates on the coronavirus crisis throughout the day.

  2. Belfast councillor answers the NHS call

    Dr John Kyle might be best known as a PUP councillor on Belfast City Council, but he was a medical professional first - now, he's coming out of retirement to help in the battle against the coronavirus.

    Here he is talking to BBC Newsline's Mark Simpson about his decision.

    View more on twitter
  3. Putting some heart into homeschooling

    Parents around the world are feeling the pressure of having to homeschool their children for the first time, with schools sending out work and daily updates so pupils can try to keep up with their studies.

    But, at St Colman's Primary and All Saints' Nursery in Annaclone, County Down, they've gone one further, setting pupils the creative and heartwarming task of writing to nursing homes, grandparents, and elderly neighbours.

    View more on twitter
  4. Republic's Covid-19 daily growth rate down from 33% to 15%

    More time is needed to form "a reliable picture" of how successful the Republic of Ireland has been in tackling Covid-19, Professor Philip Nolan said during a daily briefing earlier this evening.

    But the current daily growth rate of coronavirus cases in the Republic has fallen from 33% to 15%, according to Prof Nolan.

    He says the number of cases is "still growing and needs to fall further" but the current growth is way below what was projected if no mitigation measures - such as social distancing - were taken.

    View more on twitter

    “It takes time to see the impact of our efforts in the numbers. It will be another seven-10 days before we have a reliable picture of how effective our collective efforts have been.

    “We know what an unmitigated epidemic looks like, we are not on that track.”

  5. Stormont says TB testing should no longer be carried out

    A major move here for farmers - from today, the government's advice is for animal TB testing to be stopped.

    Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots made the announcement on Monday evening.

    "We have now moved to update our approach to TB testing - the default position is that TB testing visits should no longer be carried out," he says.

    Cows eating hay

    "Under exceptional circumstances, visits to carry out TB tests may continue if they can be done safely in accordance with the public health guidance."

    Mr Poots says his department's first priority was "to protect health and save lives".

    He says the secondary concern was to "maintain the integrity of the food supply chain and animal welfare".

    Guidelines on exceptional testing stress that social distancing must be maintained throughout.

  6. More than 90 fisheries closed

    Conor Macauley

    BBC News NI Agriculture and Environment Correspondent

    More than 90 fisheries operated by a government department are being closed as a result of today's announcement by Edwin Poots.

    The environment minister said he wanted anglers, many of them in the older, vulnerable category, to stay at home.

    The move has been supported by NI Water which hosts some of the 91 game and coarse fishing sites run by the department in Northern Ireland.

    Fisherman holding up a fish

    Pedestrian access will still be allowed to the locations so that people can use them to take exercise.

    "We know many of you would think nothing of travelling long distances to get to some of our best angling waters, but right now is not the time," Mr Poots said.

  7. Breakdown of cases across NI council areas

    Earlier, NI health officials confirmed there has now been 533 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 22 deaths. Below is a breakdown of the number of cases in each council area.

    Number of cases in each council area across Northern Ireland

    Taking a look at the number of cases on a map, it can be seen that there the highest prevalence is in the east and south-east.

    A map of coronavirus cases in Northern Ireland
  8. First Covid-19 economic engagement forum takes place

    A Covid-19 economic engagement forum convened by Economy Minister Diane Dodds held its first meeting today, via video conference.

    Mrs Dodds says the group's priority is to protect the safety of all workers in Northern Ireland.

    She paid tribute to the people and businesses continuing to deliver services.

    Diane Dodds

    “However, it is important to remember that all employers have a legal obligation to put the safety of their staff first and all workers must prioritise their own safety and that of their co-workers," she says.

    "This is non-negotiable."

    The forum "is the pragmatic approach to ensuring that all employers and workers alike focus on the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in the workplace", Mrs Dodds says.

    Another meeting will take place on Wednesday.

  9. PSNI to continue policing roads 'to protect NHS staff'

    Elsewhere, the police are also defending plans to continue carrying out road safety enforcement during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    They say that people had questioned their decision to police the roads.

    "It is very simple, we all need to protect the NHS," the PSNI says in a statement.

    "Our health service colleagues have a big enough challenge on their hands.

    "The last thing they need is to deal with the aftermath of a serious collision."

    Police officers

    Police say that while there has generally been less traffic on the roads, there has been an increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists out and about.

    "So it is critically important that we all look out for each other".

  10. PSNI 'relax' uniform regulations

    PSNI say they have "relaxed" some of their uniform regulations for staff and officers to help "minimise the risk of infection transfer".

    In a tweet, the PSNI said if you "notice a difference in their appearance" it is because they are helping to "stay safe and keep you safe".

    View more on twitter
  11. Trust moves births out of two midwife-led units

    Temporary changes have been made to maternity services at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn and the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Both midwifery-led units have been closed for births and women who were due to have their babies in these hospitals will be contacted by midwives to discuss a change of location and any other questions they may have.

    Pregnant woman

    The South Eastern Health Trust, which runs both hospitals, said in a statement that antenatal and postnatal care "will continue as normal" in both units.

    The trust is also in the process of setting up a helpline for expectant mothers to provide information about Covid-19, details of which will be announced within days.

  12. About 15% of NI ambulance staff off work due to virus concerns

    Catherine Smyth

    BBC News NI

    The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) says about 15% of its staff are absent from work because of Covid-19.

    This is because they are self-isolating because they, or a family member, are symptomatic.

    Ambulance at Belfast ED

    Last week NIAS began the process of testing staff who have developed possible symptoms and also household members who are symptomatic, leading to staff being required to self-isolate.

    The process, which is being facilitated by hospital trusts, will allow those with negative results to come back to work.

  13. Amnesty welcome for prisoner release

    Amnesty International says releasing some prisoners here early due to the coronavirus outbreak is "a difficult but correct decision."

    Justice Minister Naomi Long announced the move on Monday.

    She says it involves "fewer than 200 individuals" who are entering the last three months of their imprisonment.

    prison corridor

    Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's NI director says: “Decreasing the prison population is a crucial means of slowing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping both prisoners and prison staff safe."

    Mr Corrigan says the temporary release of older prisoners and those with an underlying health conditions should now be considered.

  14. BreakingEight more coronavirus-linked deaths in Republic of Ireland

    Eight more people with coronavirus have died in the Republic of Ireland.

    It brings the total of Covid-19 related deaths in the country to 54.

    The median age of the five females and three males that died was 86, the National Public Health Emergency Team says.

    The Department of Health says that 295 new cases were diagnosed on Monday, meaning there are now 2,910 confirmed cases in the Republic.

  15. New partnerships to boost testing of NI health staff

    Catherine Smyth

    BBC News NI

    Norther Ireland's Department of Health has given further detail around the NHS staff testing initiative which was announced in England on Friday.

    The department said new partnerships have been established to boost testing capacity for frontline NHS staff.

    Coronavirus test

    The partnerships are with Thermo Fisher Scientific, Amazon, Boots, Royal Mail and Randox, alongside the Wellcome Trust and top UK universities.

    Key healthcare workers in Northern Ireland remain among a number of priority groups for whom laboratory testing is reserved.

  16. Staying home 'can come with its own challenges'

    Northern Ireland's chief social worker is urging people to look after their mental health and wellbeing.

    Sean Holland said that while the government guidelines advise people to stay at home as much as they can, "it can come with its own challenges".

    “We should continue to check up on friends, family and neighbours by phone or online and pursue the activities we are able to do from home and in line with guidance," he says.

    Sean Holland

    "Establishing a new routine is important along with other practical things like eating healthily, doing exercise and getting regular sleep."

    He also encouraged people to use the new Covid-19 app for Northern Ireland.

    "This situation is temporary and there are better days ahead but in the meantime I would encourage everyone to make use of the support that is available.”

  17. Covid-19 assessment centres opening across NI

    New Covid-19 assessment centres are opening across Northern Ireland to help tackle the pandemic.

    Today saw the opening of GP-led centres in Belfast, Dungannon and Banbridge.

    Further centres will open later this week in Antrim, Coleraine, Newtownards, Lisburn, Downpatrick and Enniskillen.

    The first centre opened last week at in Londonderry.

    It closed over the weekend due to staff sickness, but reopened today.

    Altnagelvin Hospital

    The Department of Health (DoH) says the centres have been rapidly established in each Trust area to "help manage the increase of coronavirus cases in the community".

    The DoH said the situation will be kept under review and further centres may be opened.

    These centres are not testing facilities, but to assist in separating patients who are showing symptoms of the virus from those with non Covid-19 related conditions.

    The department said this is essential to ensure that vital GP services can be maintained in the coming weeks and months with minimum disruption.

  18. Nurse thanks public for sending food to hospital staff

    A nurse at the Ulster Hospital says nursing staff are doing shifts with no kettle, toaster or fridge available, so no way to prepare food.

    Ward Sister Helen Dugan told BBC Newsline staff are “very thankful” to people who have sent in meals and snacks.

    Ulster Hospital

    The ward sister also paid tribute to how her colleagues have adapted their lives to help patients.

    “The staff all changed their shifts, came in to work, learnt news skills, just did whatever they could do to make it work, they’ve been amazing," she said,

  19. Thousands apply to work for NI health system

    Since the weekend, almost 9,000 people expressed interest in working for Northern Ireland's Health and Social Care (HSC) sector after a government appeal for extra workers to help out during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann says there have been 8,855 expressions of interest so far, including 1,422 from clinical staff.

    Robin Swann
    Image caption: Robin Swann

    The recruitment appeal, launched at the weekend, asked for health professionals who are not already working in the HSC sector to register their interest for paid employment in health and social care roles.

    It also appealed for non-clinical support workers.to assist the health service, such as porters; caterers; cleaners; drivers; electricians; plumbers; joiners and IT professionals.

    "We might not need everyone, but knowing you are available to work is just as important," the appeal states.

    Expressions of interest can be registered via the appeal's website.