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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    We're going to end our live page coverage for the day here.

    Stay with the BBC News website, and we'll be back with more developments in the morning.

    Thank you for your company on this rather wet Wednesday.

  2. What happened today?

    couple with masks in belfast

    As we come to the end of our coronavirus coverage for Wednesday let's recap the main developments of the day in NI.

    • A delay to an order of three million items of PPE for NHS dentists in NI could see some treatments pushed back, the British Dental Association has warned. The items won't arrive until 20 July.
  3. Enterprise passenger escorted off train for refusing face covering

    A passenger on the Dublin to Belfast Enterprise service was escorted from the train at Balbriggan after refusing to wear a face covering.

    It is compulsory to wear a mask in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    A spokesperson for Translink said the train experienced "a short delay" due to the incident.

    View more on twitter

    “Gardaí (Irish police) were called and the passenger was removed from the train at Balbriggan.

    “We are pleased that there has already been a high number of customers using face coverings on our services and at our stations."

    Translink thanked passengers for "supporting this measure, which is a further collective way people can help protect each other by preventing the spread of the virus and ensure we can all travel safely together”.

  4. Translink discourages young people from gathering in large groups

    Translink has asked some of Northern Ireland's famous faces to help discourage younger people congregating in large groups, particularly at bus stops.

    In a tweet, May McFetridge and Tim McGarry are among those encouraging young people to keep group sizes to a minimum when using busses, respecting social distancing measures and to be considerate to older people trying to use transport services.

    View more on twitter
  5. A user's guide to wearing a face mask to the shops

    masks

    Covering your face will soon be as essential as remembering your cash or bank card in England, and a shopworkers' union has said the same should happen in Northern Ireland.

    The rules differ a little around the UK, but wherever you live, at times it's going to be hard to avoid covering up your mouth and nose. And that raises a host of dilemmas.

    So, from choosing the right mask, to stopping your glasses fogging up, BBC News has compiled a user's guide to wearing face masks in shops.

    Read more here.

  6. 'Scientists are convinced, masks are useful'

    As we mentioned earlier, a discussion about face coverings in an office setting has taken place on Talkback.

    In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said there are no plans to make it compulsory, and that doing so would not necessarily be effective.

    Appearing on the programme, virologist at Queen's University Lindsay Broadbent explained why guidance on mask wearing had evolved during the pandemic.

    "Most scientists are now convinced, masks are helpful," she said.

    "They do help, and they are going to play a key role in getting rid of this virus."

    A woman shopping in a chemist in the UK wearing a face mask

    Ms Broadbent said that she can "understand the confusion" around their effectiveness.

    "I think a lot of that comes from the fact that the science around masks before this pandemic was quite mixed," she said.

    "It is a very difficult thing to study, and during this pandemic it presents an opportunity to study how effective masks are."

    She explained that more convincing data had been gathered in the last two to three months, but that it takes "quite a long time for that science which has been published to disseminate down to government, and to policy makers, [and for them] to figure out how to implement that science".

  7. Where are the cases?

    DoH Council breakdown

    As we have just reported, there have been nine new cases of coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

    These were recorded in the following council areas:

    • Ards and North Down (1)
    • Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (1)
    • Causeway Coast and Glens (5)
    • Mid and East Antrim (1)
    • Newry, Mourne and Down (1)
  8. No new Covid-19-related deaths in NI

    DoH stats

    No new Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health in the past 24 hours, which means the number of deaths from the virus remains at 556.

    The department’s daily figures are mostly comprised of hospital deaths, where a patient had previously tested positive for the virus.

    The latest figures on the department’s dashboard show the total number of confirmed positive cases of the virus now stands at 5,799, an increase of nine from yesterday.

    One patient with Covid-19 is currently being treated in intensive care in a Northern Ireland hospital.

  9. PM commits to independent coronavirus inquiry

    Boris Johnson

    Boris Johnson has for the first time committed to an "independent inquiry" into the coronavirus pandemic.

    The prime minister said it was not right to devote "huge amounts of official time" to an inquiry when the UK is "in the middle" of a pandemic.

    But he said the government would seek to learn lessons "in the future" and "certainly we will have an independent inquiry in to what happened".

    He was responding to a question from acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey.

    Read more here

  10. Biggest relaxation of rules take place in Scotland since lockdown

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Scotland has begun its most significant relaxation of coronavirus measures since the country went into lockdown in March.

    Hairdressers and barbers, bars and restaurants, cinemas, tourist attractions, places of worship and childcare settings can now all reopen.

    The country's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said it is "the biggest step so far" in exiting lockdown.

    But she warned it would also bring the greatest risk for potential resurgence of the virus.

    The reopening of indoor spaces requires anti-virus precautions to be in place and all customers will be asked to provide their name and a phone number, as part of the NHS Test and Protect scheme.

    Ahead of the easing of restrictions, the first minister warned it was now more important than ever to stick to public health measures.

    Read more here.

  11. Postcodes show NI Covid-19 deaths disparity

    Graphic

    A postcode area in east Belfast has recorded the most Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland, according to figures from the Department of Finance.

    The BT4 area - taking in parts of the Upper Newtownards Road, Holywood Road and Sydenham - had 36 deaths.

    It is followed by BT13 with 30 deaths, which encompasses the Shankill Road and touches on the Crumlin Road as well the West Circular Road.

    An academic said the postcode breakdown suggested inequality played a role.

    In total the Department of Health has recorded 556 coronavirus-related deaths in Northern Ireland since the pandemic began.

    These figures mostly relate to deaths in hospital where the person who died had previously tested positive for Covid-19.

    Read more here

  12. Food and alcohol prices fall across the UK amid Covid-19

    New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the price of certain consumer items.

    Its Consumer Price Index shows a drop in the price of food and alcohol, but an increase for clothing and games.

    "Due to the impact of the coronavirus, clothing prices have not followed the usual seasonal pattern this year, with the normal falls due to the start of the summer sales failing to materialise," said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS.

    The ONS is the national statistics body for the UK, while equivalent figures specific to Northern Ireland are generally published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

    Woman shopping

    "Prices for computer games and consoles have risen, but food prices, particularly vegetables, have fallen," said Mr Athow.

    In June, men's clothing in particular rose in price, with increases coming "across almost the full range", he said.

    Women's clothing showed "a more mixed picture across the different products", but with the overall effect still upward.

    Games, toys and hobbies, particularly computer games and computer games consoles, made the biggest contribution to the inflation rise.

    Read more about how Covid-19 has affected consumer prices here.

  13. Army charity sees surge in veterans seeking help

    Kevin Sharkey

    BBC News NI

    wreaths

    A Northern Ireland veterans charity has said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a surge in demand for its mental health support services.

    Beyond the Battlefield, based in Newtownards, County Down, said military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been looking for help in increasing numbers.

    PTSD can cause insomnia, flashbacks and feelings of isolation.

    The Armed Forces Covenant is helping to fund a Covid Impact Programme.

    Read the story here.

  14. Smokers quit in highest numbers in a decade

    More than one million people have given up smoking since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, a survey for charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) suggests.

    Of those who had quit in the previous four months, 41% said it was in direct response to coronavirus.

    Separately, University College London (UCL) found more people quit smoking in the year to June 2020 than in any year since its survey began in 2007.

    Government advice says smokers may be at risk of more severe Covid symptoms.

    Read more here

  15. UK health minister says no plans for office face coverings in England

    There are no plans to make face coverings mandatory for office workers in England, Matt Hancock has said.

    The health secretary told BBC Breakfast people working in offices would not need to cover up, despite a newspaper report suggesting they would.

    A discussion on the issue is coming up on the Talkback programme at 12:00 BST.

    "It is something we've looked at and rejected," he said, but added masks would be worn elsewhere by the public "for the foreseeable future".

    A woman sitting behind her desk, wearing a face mask and working at a lap top

    Face coverings in shops will become mandatory in England on 24 July.

    Scotland already requires shoppers to cover their faces while Wales and Northern Ireland are both weighing up similar policies.

    "When you're in close proximity with somebody that you have to work closely to, if you're there for a long time with them, then a mask doesn't offer that protection," Mr Hancock told the programme.

    Read more here.

  16. Lions tour to South Africa to go ahead in 2021

    British and Irish Lions v NZ

    The British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa will go ahead as planned in July and August 2021.

    There were concerns the tour may be unable to go-ahead because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    The Lions play three Test matches against the world champions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gauteng.

    They play eight matches in total on the tour, including five warm-up games against invitational sides and Super Rugby teams.

    The tour will take place at the same time as the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, which run from 23 July to 8 August.

    Read more on this here

  17. PPE delay for dentists 'will affect services'

    PPE dentisr

    A delay to an order of PPE (personal protective equipment) for NHS dentists in NI could see some treatments pushed back, the British Dental Association has warned.

    About three million PPE items were to be delivered to dentists this week, but have now been delayed until 20 July.

    That is when dentists are due to resume offering treatment such as fillings.

    The Department of Health said the logistical challenge of the delivery had been "significant".

    On 2 July, Health Minister Robin Swann announced that the profession in Northern Ireland would receive more than three million items of level one PPE in the coming weeks.

    A department spokesperson said it was expected the delivery would take 10 to 14 days.

    Read more here.

  18. 2025 before NI economy recovers from Covid-19

    Clodagh Rice

    BBC News NI business correspondent

    It could be 2025 before the NI economy recovers from the impact of Covid 19 and the government lockdown, Stormont’s Economy Committee has heard.

    A team of senior economists from Ulster University has been looking at how deep this recession might be and how long recovery could take.

    Dr Eoin Magennis told the committee that there could be a 12.5% hit to economic output (GVA) this year.

    When asked how long it might take the local economy to recover, Dr Esmond Birnie said three years would be a good scenario, four years would be a “middle” scenario and five years would be a “bad” scenario.

    Money

    Dr Birnie added that recovery from the last recession was seven to eight, so this is “not as bad as the last time as every recession is unique".

    Director Gareth Hetherington told the committee about 220,000 people in Northern Ireland are on furlough but he said a significant proportion of them will not return to work.

    It’s estimated 40,000-50,000 people could lose their job which could mean peak unemployment of 12%.

  19. Irish restaurant industry calls for guidance on tourist quarantine rules

    Chef in kitchen

    Some restaurant owners in the Republic of Ireland have refused to serve tourists after finding out that they have not obeyed the state's quarantine rules on foreign travel.

    The current rules state that most people who arrive in the Republic of Ireland from anywhere outside the island of Ireland should "restrict their movements" for 14 days.

    Adrian Cummins from the Restaurants Association of Ireland explained that businesses are in a difficult position when it comes to identifying tourists from residents.

    He warned that "international damage" could be done to the Irish restaurant trade unless there was a "common policy" in place.

    Mr Cummins called on the government to provide guidance on the right to refuse custom to tourists who have not adhered to quarantine rules.

  20. How would Ted Hastings tackle coronavirus?

    A growth industry in Northern Ireland, the film and television sector has faced particular difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Speaking to Good Morning Ulster, Richard Williams, chief executive of NI Screen, explained the temporary employment status of many in the industry meant that they missed out on schemes put forward by the Treasury.

    "They will be extremely anxious to get back to work," said Mr Williams.

    "And of course the companies, and we on behalf of all of the companies and the crew, our actors and everybody else are equally anxious to get back to work as soon as we can do it in a safe and appropriate manner."

    He said Line of Duty would be one of the first productions to return next month, and that filming on a high-budget production called The Northman had already began.

    Ted Hastings in Line of Duty

    He added many actors were now doubled booked due to not being able to work for many months.

    "It is difficult because there is an element of tension around which projects get back first," he said.