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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from us...

    ...until tomorrow at 8am, when we'll be back with more of the latest coronavirus news in Northern Ireland.

    In the meantime, you can stay up-to-date with all the latest via BBC News NI on digital, radio and TV.

    We'll leave you with this lovely shot of the sunrise at Six Road Ends near Bangor, sent to us by James Brown. Have a good evening.

    Near Bangor
  2. Monday's headlines

    Here's a round-up of the main coronavirus news from today:

    • There have been 76 new cases of coronavirus and one more death recorded in Northern Ireland
    • It brings the total death toll to 557 and the total number of cases to 6,140
    • Today was the first day that face coverings are mandatory in Northern Ireland's shops, with breaches potentially attracting a fine of £60
    • Eligibility for anyone currently on the waiting list for fertility treatment is to be extended by a year
  3. Is the world winning the pandemic fight?

    James Gallagher

    Health and science correspondent, BBC News

    Child

    It is little more than six months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the arrival of a new virus a global emergency.

    On that day, at the end of January, there had been almost 10,000 reported cases of coronavirus and more than 200 people had died. None of those deaths were outside of China.

    Since then the world, and our lives, have changed profoundly.

    So how are we faring in this battle between the human race and the coronavirus?

    If we take the planet as a whole, the picture is looking rough.

    Read more

  4. Exemption cards for those who can't wear face coverings?

    Face covering in shop

    A shop workers' trade union has called for greater clarity around the enforcement of face coverings in shops and has suggested the introduction of an identification system for those who are exempt from wearing them.

    Raymond Neal, area organiser for the shop workers' union USDAW, tells BBC Radio Foyle shop workers could be at risk of being caught in a confrontation, especially if someone has an unseen health condition which means they can't wear face coverings.

    Mr Neal told the programme that some union members had previously experienced hostility when they attempted to enforce social-distancing guidelines within retail.

    "We have made it clear to our members not to enforce this," Mr Neal said.

    "There are exemptions to this, there should be something put in place where you have a badge or a card, something you could show to remove the confrontation side of this."

  5. No fines issued for refusing to wear face coverings on public transport

    masks

    No-one in Northern Ireland has been fined so far for not wearing a face covering on a bus, train or ferry, police have confirmed.

    Wearing face coverings on public transport became mandatory here on 10 July.

    There are exemptions for those with medical conditions.

    The rules do not apply to children under the age of 13.

    Outdoor areas of a ferry where social distancing can be maintained are also exempt.

    The government has said that some circumstances make it difficult for some people to wear face coverings and these will be taken into account.

  6. Lifeguards in UK see increase in antisocial behaviour

    Abby Newbery

    Video Journalist

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: How lifeguarding has changed for the RNLI

    The RNLI is running a reduced service this year and staffing 170 UK beaches with lifeguards, when normally the charity would be at 240.

    New protocols have also been introduced for lifeguards, including putting on PPE before treating casualties.

    Lifeguards are reporting a rise in antisocial behaviour and more people getting into trouble in the water as people head to the UK's beaches this summer.

    At Southsea in Portsmouth, lifeguards say they have dealt with more incidents than normal, with people staying in the country for holidays and travelling from further away.

    Read more here

  7. 'Test drive different masks until you find one right for you'

    Continuing on Talkback, virologist Dr Lindsay Broadbent says the public needs to remember there are some people who won’t be able to wear a mask.

    There are exemptions including for staff in shops, children under 13 and those with an illness or impairment.

    Dr Broadbent is urging anyone who is not sure if they can wear a mask on health grounds to “take a test drive”.

    girls in car wearing masks

    “If you have mild asthma for example, it's a really good idea to do test drive, put a mask on, go for a walk near where you live so that if you do have difficulties you can take it off because you're outside and see how you feel,” she says.

    People should also search for a mask that is right for them, she adds.

    “There are different kinds of mask masks that people can wear, so maybe the first one you try isn't right for you, try a different one.

    “The majority of people will find a mask that works for them."

  8. Minister announces £10m for community and voluntary sector

    cash

    Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has announced £10.8m in extra funding for the voluntary and community sector here.

    It will be made available in October, with £9.7 million allocated to cover organisations in the sector’s salaries up to March 2021, with £1.1 million earmarked for running costs.

    Ms Ní Chuilín said the money will help organisations recover from the pandemic and prepare for a possible second wave.

    “It is clear as the pandemic remains there is a need to ensure that organisations have the capacity and support in the event of a second wave,” she says.

    “As well as planning normal delivery alongside the challenges associated with social distancing, evidence to date shows that while many organisations can continue to provide services, capacity will be reduced but costs in terms of salaries and running cost will be broadly similar".

    Previous funding of £13m was announced for the community and voluntary sector in April.

  9. Most new Covid-19 cases recorded in Belfast

    Stats

    The majority of new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Belfast over the weekend where 18 more people were diagnosed.

    Sixteen more cases were confirmed in Mid and East Antrim and 14 more in Antrim and Newtownabbey.

    Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37 new cases of coronavirus in Belfast, 29 in Newry, Mourne and Down and 28 in Mid and East Antrim.

    In total, since the pandemic began, 162 deaths linked to coronavirus have been Belfast - this is the highest number across Northern Ireland.

    There have been no new cases of the virus in the past seven days in Fermanagh and Omagh and this council area has the least number of deaths. In total, 11 people have died with coronavirus there.

  10. BreakingOne more death and 76 new cases of coronavirus in NI

    Stats

    Seventy-six new cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in Northern Ireland over the weekend according to the Department of Health's latest update.

    One more death has been recorded, which happened on 8 August.

    The figures, which mostly record fatalities in a hospital setting, show the number of deaths now stands at 557.

    The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is now 6,140.

    Two people are being treated in intensive care and one of them is on a ventilator.

  11. Face covering science now 'more convincing'

    Queen's University virologist Dr Lindsay Broadbent tells Talkback it’s now the right time for people here to be wearing face coverings when out in public.

    She says some public confusion about masks “is completely understandable”.

    “Back in February and early March the science wasn’t as strong as it is now,” she says.

    In the past few months, she says, the science has become “much more convincing” .

    “We also have to bear in mind that back in March there was a massive PPE shortage, and we had to make sure that health care workers, care workers, essential workers, they had the masks.

    shoppers wearing face mask

    “Now we have more information and the PPE supply chain is a bit more sorted out, everyone is much more confident about saying, ‘yes, we need to be wearing masks’.”

    It is now compulsory to wear a mask in shops and other enclosed public spaces in Northern Ireland.

    Shop staff have an exemption, but Dr Broadbent says shop workers should not take the exemption at face value.

    "I would say if a shop worker can wear a mask, they should," she says.

  12. Republic of Ireland's 14-day incidence rate 'now higher than UK'

    The Republic of Ireland's incidence of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days is now higher than in the UK, according to figures released by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), RTÉ reports.

    The country's rate is 16.9 cases while the UK stands at 16.5. The increase reflects the spike in cases over the past week.

    Germany also has a lower incidence of Covid-19 than Ireland according to the figures - its 14-day cumulative number is 12.9.

  13. Eligibility for fertility treatment waiting list extended

    Louise Cullen

    BBC News NI

    Eligibility for anyone currently on the waiting list for fertility treatment is to be extended by a year, the health minister has said.

    Services at the Regional Fertility Centre in Belfast were suspended in March.

    A phased return began today.

    Fertility

    Patients will be contacted by staff when it’s possible to resume their appointments, and the centre will operate extended hours to provide as many safe appointments as possible.

    Robin Swann said the extension to eligibility would remove the pressure for women who would otherwise breach the upper age limit before receiving treatment.

    It will only apply to women already on the waiting list.

  14. What's the evidence of virus transmission in schools?

    Rachel Schraer

    BBC Health Reporter

    The UK government is saying today that there's little evidence of coronavirus being transmitted in schools.

    The evidence is clear that children are much less likely to become very ill from coronavirus than adults, particularly older adults. What role they play in spreading the virus to others, though, is less clear.

    A few studies around the world using contact tracing have suggested children are less likely to pass the virus on, but the evidence so far is fairly weak.

    classroom

    In countries where schools have already reopened, cases don’t seem to have risen significantly - though this may be telling us how well the schools are being managed rather than anything about children’s natural ability to transmit the virus.

    And schools don’t just bring children together – teachers, parents at school gates and other knock-on effects like increased use of public transport or more carers being able to go back to work could also influence the spread of the virus.

    A UK study predicted what might happen once you include all those factors, and suggested schools could contribute to a second wave if our contact tracing system isn't good enough. It assumed children were half as likely as adults to pass on the virus.

    This is only modelling but it’s a good illustration of the problem. Though we haven’t solved the question of whether children are biologically less capable of passing on the virus, the safety of reopening schools depends on other factors - including the strength of the contact tracing system and how well social distancing can be managed.

  15. UK daily cases rise above 1,000 for first time since June

    graph of daily coronavirus cases

    The daily number of new coronavirus cases in the UK has crept above 1,000 for the first time since 26 June.

    There were 1,062 new cases of the virus as of Sunday evening, and eight further deaths were reported, bringing the UK’s death toll is 46,574.

    However, these daily confirmed case numbers released by the Department of Health mask the fact that the number of tests being carried out is also increasing - and these tests are targeted at areas where infection rates are highest.

    As BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle points out, if you are testing more, you are likely to find more cases.

    And if you look at the percentage of tests coming back positive, the rise in cases becomes marginal, once daily fluctuations are taken into account, he says.

  16. NI public urged to volunteer for vaccine studies

    NI’s health minister and the Public Health Agency say people here can help speed up the search for a coronavirus vaccine by signing up to the vaccine registry.

    Robin Swann says it’s vital the NI public “play their part in this important initiative”.

    “I would like everyone to consider signing up to this register so that researchers and the public here can contribute to the global effort to find a vaccine for Covid-19 and help save lives in the future,” he said.

    lab technician working in a lab

    Anyone who signs up to the registry can be contacted about taking part in approved UK coronavirus vaccine studies.

    “Health researchers are currently working to find a vaccine for Covid-19, but without the help of members of the general public willing to participate in vaccine trials, this work will not be able to succeed,” Dr Janice Bailie of the Public Health Agency (PHA) says.

    Dr Bailie says by collecting details of willing volunteers “the registry service will help cut down the time it takes to find volunteers for vaccine studies”.

    She adds: “This will help us to carry out studies and find a vaccine faster”.

  17. When an empty theatre seat packs a powerful message

    Derry Playhouse

    The Derry Playhouse is aiming to be the first theatre in NI to open its doors to a paying audience for live performances since lockdown began in March.

    The curtain will go back on a first production in early September.

    But there can be no packed house.

    Capacity has dropped from 150 people to just 20 because of social-distancing regulations.

    But the Playhouse has a plan for the empty seats and it involves items that remind people of a loved one.

    It is calling on members of the public to donate photographs, letters or other items connected to family members or friends lost in the Troubles or to the coronavirus pandemic.

    These pieces will then be placed on the empty seats in the auditorium, filling the gaps between the 20 members of the audience allowed inside.

    Read more

  18. Small businesses tell of pandemic struggles

    Quiet High street

    People who run their own businesses have been speaking to the BBC about the impact coronavirus has had on them - and their plans for the future.

    Phil and Penny Davis are among those who, despite using the government's various support packages to stay afloat, are now considering their next steps.

    In Phil's case it's to fold his permanent make-up business in Cheshire and seek employment, while Penny is considering closing her skin therapy clinic.

    You can read their stories here.

  19. Chamber members 'fully supportive' of mask wearing

    The majority of north west businesses back the wearing of face coverings in shops, Londonderry’s Chamber of Commerce chief executive says.

    Paul Clancy says chamber members “recognise that it protects the health and safety of their own staff, as well as customers”.

    A chamber survey of its members last week found 83% of 171 businesses who responded backed the mandatory wearing of face coverings.

    Londonderry Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Clancy

    “The reality is that we will all have to make some changes to how we live, work, shop and socialise and if the wearing of face coverings is mandatory, it will help promote more of a cultural change in the acceptability of wearing face coverings,” Mr Clancy says.

    He adds: “This has been an enormous time of change, but we must all play our part to protect public health, keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum and avoid a second wave which will be catastrophic for many businesses."

    Public health, and the health of shoppers and shop staff, must be the “number one priority of retailers", he says.

  20. Coronavirus 14-day incidence in the Republic 'to surpass the UK'

    Complacency could be behind a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Republic of Ireland, the assistant news editor of the Irish Times tells Good Morning Ulster.

    The newspaper is reporting this morning that the incidence of coronavirus cases per 100,000 of population in the Republic in the last fortnight is set to surpass that of the UK for the first time since the pandemic began.

    “There was perhaps even a little bit of smugness when we looked at Britain and saw Ireland was doing better whereas now the 14-day incidence of the disease in the Republic has increased seven fold in the space of just three weeks," Mary Minahan says.

    Ninety-eight new cases were reported in the Republic on Friday, 174 on Saturday, and 68 on Sunday.

    covid test

    Restrictions have been put in place in Kildare, Laois and Offaly where there have been localised spikes in case numbers.

    “Understandably there is a lot of anger in Laois, Offaly and Kildare which are now in lockdown for a fortnight. It’s very bad news for the midlands,” she says.

    “Health Minster Stephen Donnelly is looking at new advice and the possibility of what they are calling, or billing a fresh road map – that would mean the eradication of the road map they had before, and a new way of possibly introducing temporary restrictions as they have done in the three counties."