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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. We'll leave you with this uplifting story

    The 150-year-old cottage which is nestled under the Ox Mountains

    Thanks for joining us on our live page this afternoon.

    We will leave you with the uplifting story of a County Mayo couple who raised almost €1m (£888,260) for healthcare workers by raffling their cottage after surviving Covid-19.

    Dublin woman Michele Hallahan was the lucky winner of the 150-year-old home nestled under the Ox Mountains near Foxford.

    Read more on this story here

  2. Trials for 'quicker' Covid-19 tests to be announced

    Trials for quicker saliva-based Covid-19 tests will be announced by Westminster, according to Mr Swann.

    "I suppose it's waiting to see how those trials actually progress and the efficiency of that testing process and then how we implement them in Northern Ireland," he says.

    Dr McBride says the vast majority of coronavirus tests are turned around within 24 hours in Northern Ireland.

  3. Hospital clusters show 'fragility' of health system

    The suggestion that services could be halted at Craigavon Area Hospital shows the fragility of the health service, Mr Swann says.

    "What we're seeing now is a direct impact on those services that we were slowly ramping up in Craigavon," said Mr Swann.

    "What we don't want to do is actually go back to the position where we have to stop services the way we did in the first wave.

    "We need more doctors, we need more consultants, we need more surgeons."

  4. Ages of people testing positive for Covid-19 is changing

    A different pattern in the ages of people testing positive for coronavirus is emerging, Dr McBride says.

    The chief medical officer says the latest figures indicate that "two thirds of those testing positive are under the age of 40".

    He says there should now be a "targeted approach" to ensure people of that age group begin to change their behaviours.

    Dr McBride pointed out that 40-50% of positive cases in March were those aged 60 and over and that has fallen to 10%.

    Dr McBride says this change "stresses the importance" of all of us banding together and taking all public health advice.

  5. Clusters of school cases 'expected'

    Dr McBride says clusters of cases associated with schools are expected.

    He says these clusters will not necessarily relate to the school environment, but could be linked to activities associated with school, before school and after school.

    He said they will keep the guidance to schools under constant review so it is "understandable" to parents and principals.

  6. Testing helpline received 800 calls on Tuesday

    A total of 800 calls were made to the NHS testing helpline from Northern Ireland yesterday, according to the chief medical officer.

    Dr Michael McBride said 65 met of those calls met the criteria to be referred for testing.

    A total of 4,402 tests were carried out in Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

    A total of 800 calls were made to the NHS testing helpline from Northern Ireland yesterday, according to the chief medical officer
  7. Recommendations to be made on care homes

    A report on the experiences of care homes in Northern Ireland during the pandemic will be published

    A report on the experiences of care homes in Northern Ireland during the pandemic will be published.

    Health Minister Robin Swann said "care homes remained on the frontline".

    "The care home sector was extremely fragile before the pandemic and the virus has exposed that," he said.

    The rapid learning initiative from the health department has identified 24 recommendations that will "help inform the approach going forward", he added.

  8. 'If your child needs a test they will be tested'

    Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride reassures parents sending their children back to school that "if your child needs a test they will be tested".

    While there is excitement for pupils seeing friends again after six months away from school, there is also worry for parents fearful their child could contract the virus, he adds.

    Increased pressure on testing is to be expected following the return to school, says Dr McBride, adding that Northern Ireland is testing more than other parts of the UK.

    View more on twitter
  9. New Nightingale planned

    Opening today's briefing, Health Minister Robin Swann reveals he has commissioned a second Nightingale facility for Northern Ireland.

    The facility, which will provide 100 regional care beds, will be in Whiteabbey and will be fully operational in time for the winter.

    Confirming two further deaths linked to coronavirus, he says Covid-19 has "the potential for another full scale onslaught".

  10. Stormont's Covid-19 response 'has cost at least £2bn'

    Jayne McCormack

    BBC News NI political reporter

    The Stormont Executive's response to NI's coronavirus pandemic has cost at least £2bn so far, estimates suggest.

    A report by the NI Audit Office details spending within each Stormont department to handle the crisis.

    It said the total cost to the public purse would ultimately be "much higher" as disruption continues in the coming months.

    Two people in PPE

    The bulk of the cost was incurred by the health, finance and economy departments, it added.

    Read more here

  11. Services at Covid-hit hospital 'could be reduced'

    Some services could be halted at Craigavon Area Hospital after a third Covid-19 outbreak was detected, according to a health trust chief executive.

    Shane Devlin, who leads the Southern Trust, said that would be a last resort and that the hospital "is managing".

    It follows the identification of two clusters at the hospital last week.

    Two more deaths related to coronavirus were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total to 562.

    Craigavon Area Hospital

    One of the victims was a woman, who was resident of a care home in the Ards and North Down Borough Council, while the other was a man who from the Mid and East Antrim area who died in hospital.

    They were both more than 80 years old.

    Read more here.

  12. Transfer tests postponed until January 2021

    The providers of post-primary transfer tests in Northern Ireland have agreed to hold this year's exams in January.

    The proposed two month postponement to the AQE and PPTC exams follows disruption to schoolwork due to Covid-19.

    The suggested date for the first test is Saturday 9 January, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

    The Department of Education previously postponed the exams, which normally take place in November, by two weeks.

    Primary school class

    Lawyers representing two pupils due to sit the tests challenged that decision in the High Court.

    They contended the decision to delay the tests by a matter of weeks amid so much disruption to children's education was unlawful.

    Read the full story here.

  13. Hello and welcome

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in Northern Ireland.

    Shortly, we're expecting Health Minister Robin Swann to deliver a press conference at Stormont.

    Stay with us for the latest updates and developments as they happen.

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