Coronavirus: Another 222 Covid-19 cases recorded in NI

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Testing at a drive-in centre in Northern IrelandImage source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
The latest daily figures mean 913 people have now tested positive in the last seven days

The Department of Health has recorded 222 more positive cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

It is the highest number of people testing positive for coronavirus in NI since the Department of Health rolled out its current testing model.

It means 913 people have now tested positive in the last seven days, and brings the overall total to 9,165.

On Friday five more patients across two NI hospitals - Craigavon and Daisy Hill - died after Covid-19 outbreaks.

The deaths of the patients linked to the outbreaks in hospitals will be debated in the assembly next week.

The highest level of a hospital investigation is already underway in Craigavon, will now be extended to Daisy Hill.

Health Minister Robin Swann said he was deeply sorry that families had been "plunged into grief in such disturbing circumstances".

"Thorough investigations are absolutely essential and I am determined that no stone will be left unturned in pursuit of the truth for these families," he said.

"My department is being updated at the highest level about this situation."

An interactive map, available on the NI Direct website and expected to be updated each week, shows what areas come under the new regulations.

Meanwhile in the Republic of Ireland, the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) has said numbers of coronavirus cases are growing exponentially in the country, and the government had been told by its scientific advisers that it needed to act urgently.

Tighter Covid-19 restrictions have come into force in Dublin in an effort to stem rising levels of the virus.

Micheál Martin said there would be an increased presence of gardái (Irish police) to enforce the new regulations.

On Saturday, the Irish Department of Health recorded 274 more positive cases of Covid-19, taking the country's total to 32,538.