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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all for this evening

    As another week in lockdown ends, we're ending our live coverage for the day now but you still can keep up with all the latest coronavirus developments on our main BBC News NI index.

    Our live reports will begin again bright and early on Sunday morning.

    Until then, we'll leave you with this uplifting picture tweeted by our education correspondent Robbie Meredith.

    Have a good evening - indoors of course - and stay safe.

    View more on twitter
  2. BMA welcomes testing centre ahead of 'two-week surge'

    Drive-through Covid-19 testing

    The opening of Northern Ireland's first Covid-19 testing centre for healthcare workers has been welcomed by the British Medical Association's, Northern Ireland Council chair, Dr Tom Black.

    “The opening of this centre will hopefully see a much-needed increase in testing of healthcare staff, enabling them to return to work quickly and, most importantly, prevent patients from potentially becoming unwell with Covid-19 themselves," Dr Black said.

    Dr Tom Black
    Image caption: Dr Tom Black is among the GPs working in NI's Covid centres

    The GP added: “We are about to enter the ‘peak’ two-week surge of the coronavirus here, during which our health service system will be stretched to levels we have never experienced before.

    "This is why it is vital to test as many healthcare workers as possible as we need as many hands on deck in the coming weeks to care for patients.”

  3. Coronavirus: the latest statistics from home and abroad

    Coronavirus testing

    If you're just joining our live coverage, here are the main developments on Saturday from Northern Ireland and further afield:

    • The Republic of Ireland confirmed the deaths of 17 people who had contracted the virus, meaning that 137 people who tested positive have now died in the state.
    • Northern Ireland's first coronavirus testing centre for healthcare workers opened in Belfast on Saturday.
    • There are currently 998 positive cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, a rise of 94 since Friday.
  4. Reduced timetable for Strangford Lough ferry


    Due to the impact of coronavirus, the ferry between Strangford and Portaferry will operate on a reduced service, from Monday until further notice.

    More details can be found on the NI Direct website.

  5. Little girls share an important message

    Police met sisters Sienna and Georgia while out on patrol today.

    They are urging everyone to stay at home.

    View more on twitter
  6. Testing facility follows weeks of calls from NHS staff

    The opening of Northern Ireland's first coronavirus testing centre for healthcare workers follows weeks of criticism from NHS staff across the UK about lack of access to tests.

    Many NHS workers have complained that they have had to take time off work to self-isolate, not knowing for sure if they have contracted Covid-19 or not.

    Belfast testing centre for healthcare workers

    On Friday, NI's Health Minister Robin Swann said the new testing facility in Belfast “will allay some of the concern and speculation we have had of late”.

    "I fully understand the frustration that we have not been able to scale up testing numbers more quickly," Mr Swann said on Friday.

    "This is not down to a lack of will or action.There are significant challenges including laboratory and staffing capacity and the unprecedented levels of global demand for testing reagents and swabs.”

  7. 17 more Covid-19 linked deaths in Republic of Ireland

    There have been 17 more Covid-19 linked deaths in the Republic of Ireland since Friday.

    It brings the total number of deaths with coronavirus in the country to 137.

    Ireland's Department of Health said that the patients included four females and 13 males, 13 of whom had underlying health conditions.

    The median age of today's reported deaths is 77.

    There has also been 331 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic, as of 13:00 local time on Saturday, meaning there are now 4,604 confirmed cases.

  8. NI secretary condemns 'brutal' Belfast murder

    The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, has condemned the murder of a man who was shot dead in Belfast this morning.

    The victim was attacked outside a house on Etna Drive in Ardoyne at about 11:50 BST.

    View more on twitter
  9. Hydebank prisoners' colourful support for keyworkers

    The Rainbow of Hope at Hydebank has allowed female inmates "to do something positive" during the coronavirus outbreak.

    View more on twitter
  10. Emergency department in Craigavon split for respiratory patients

    Craigavon Area Hospital's emergency department has been split into respiratory and non-respiratory sections in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    View more on twitter
  11. NHS workers tested for virus "by appointment only"

    Northern Ireland's first Covid-19 testing centre for healthcare workers is accessible "by appointment only" the Department of Health has said.

    The drive-through facility opened in the car park of Belfast's SSE Arena on Saturday.

    Covid-19 testing centre for healthcare workers in Belfast

    The testing initiative was set up by the Public Health Agency with input from Health and Social Care Trust staff. The department said it "complements work undertaken by trusts to scale up their own testing capabilities".

  12. Republic of Ireland's 'truly nationwide effort' to stop spread

    The Republic of Ireland's chief medical officer has taken to Twitter to praise the country for its response to Covid-19 restrictions.

    View more on twitter
  13. Five-year-old child dies after contracting Covid-19 in UK

    Breaking news graphic

    A five-year-old child with underlying health conditions is among 708 in the UK who died with coronavirus over the past day.

  14. New ambulance service plan to deal with Covid-19 patients

    The NI Ambulance Service has introduced a specific Covid-19 protocol to categorise 999 calls from today.

    It allows for more specific questioning of patients to assess the likelihood of Covid-19 symptoms so that crews can be pre-warned of the need to use appropriate PPE.

    It will also enable the service to improve diagnosis of the severity of Covid-19 symptoms, resulting in more specific advice being provided to patients.


    It will also mean that staff can ensure all patients with immediately life-threatening and serious conditions, whether or not they are related to Covid-19, will be prioritised for the most immediate response.

    However, it says it may be necessary to withhold an ambulance response to less serious calls and deal with some calls through triage.

  15. Remembering the dead in Beijing

    Stephen McDonnell, the BBC News China correspondent, has written about going to a random crossroads in Beijing at the allotted time for a three minute silence for those who died of Coronavirus.


    At a few minutes to 10:00 (03:00 BST), there was no sign that anything would happen.

    Then, bang on 10:00, we heard what sounded like an air-raid siren go off nearby.

    Suddenly cars stopped. People stopped. A car horn, then another and another. Soon a cacophony of noise filled the street as more and more drivers joined in.

  16. Majority in intensive care 'under 65'

    In the Republic of Ireland, the latest figures suggest that the majority of those with Covid-19 who are admitted to intensive care are aged under 65.

    The latest figures from the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre show that of 148 patients admitted to ICU, 59 of them were over 65, accounting for almost 40%, while the remaining 60% were under 65.


    The figures are based on 3,655 confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland up until midnight on Wednesday 1 April.

    At this stage, 113 deaths linked to the virus had been recorded.

  17. Irish government announces plans for nursing homes

    The Republic of Ireland's health minister says the next seven days are "critical" in the fight against Covid-19.

    "On 16 March, you were likely infecting 4.3 people, by the end of March that had dropped to 2.5 people, but we need to get that number below one," said Simon Harris.

    He said new measures, which include supplying PPE to nursing homes and home support providers, will help to protect everyone involved.

    View more on twitter