Wednesday, September 23, 2020

By Press Association

Northern Ireland Economy Minister Diane Dodds has spoken out against the prospect of a second lockdown in the region. Photo: Press Association.

There have been 220 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours, the region’s Department of Health has said.

This is the second highest number of daily Covid-19 cases recorded in the North.

No further deaths were recorded by the department, with the toll in the region remaining at 577.

The figures come as a secondary school in Co Tyrone closed after a number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 were identified there.

In a Facebook post, Holy Cross College in Strabane said: “Unfortunately the school has had to close at very short notice this morning due to two further confirmed cases in the school community.”

On Sunday, the school which educates around 1,550 pupils had said two members of its community had tested positive for coronavirus. A deep clean was undertaken in response before a further two cases were announced today.

It comes as the Holyland district near Queen’s University in Belfast has been the focus of concern and police action over house parties and disease spread, a Stormont committee was told.

As of today, a total of 27 cautionary suspensions have been issued to students by the university.

Lockdown

Northern Ireland Economy Minister Diane Dodds has spoken out against the prospect of a second lockdown in the region.

“The Northern Ireland economy cannot afford another lockdown,” she said during a speech to her scrutiny committee at Stormont today.

“Those small shoots of recovery we are seeing would be destroyed,” she added.

“It does rest heavily on our minds that the Northern Ireland economy is in a perilous situation at this particular time and it has greatly impacted on prospects and livelihoods of individuals and families.”

Ms Dodds said her message about the impact of restrictions on business was in step with the public views of Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill.

“They are cognisant of the fact that restrictions and lockdowns would be devastating for everybody. I am doing my job of warning that we are in very difficult and serious circumstances,” she said.

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