The Executive has agreed to extend Northern Ireland’s current lockdown to April 1, it is understood.

owever, primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 are set return to classes on March 8.

Secondary school pupils in key exam years, year groups 12 to 14, will return to face-to-face learning on March 22.

At Thursday’s Executive meeting, ministers also agreed to make relaxations to allow “click and collect” shopping from some outlets previously categorised as non-essential retailers.

From March 8, click and collect will be permitted for shops selling baby equipment, clothing and footwear, and electrical goods.

The decision to extend the main lockdown restrictions to April 1 will be subject to a review on March 18.

An Executive press conference has been scheduled for later on Thursday.

It comes after a further six people in Northern Ireland have died as a result of Covid-19.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show that all six deaths occurred in the last 24 hours.

Northern Ireland’s death toll from the virus now stands at 2,021.

A further 342 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 9,232 tests were carried out on 2,226 people on Wednesday.

In total 110,127 people in Northern Ireland have now tested positive for the virus.

There are currently 418 people in hospital with Covid-19, with 51 in an intensive care unit.

Hospital bed occupancy currently stands at 94%, with 47 intensive care unit beds remaining free.

In Northern Ireland’s care homes there are currently 49 active outbreaks of the virus.

Over the past week a total of 2,041 people were diagnosed with Covid-19.

The highest number of cases over the past new week was found in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon council area with 422, Belfast had 365, while Mid Ulster has 284.

Fermanagh and Omagh saw the lowest number of cases in the past seven days with 60. Ards and North Down had 94, while Causeway Coast and Glens had 105.

In terms of the cases of the virus per 100,000 over the past week, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon also had the highest with 197.5. Next was Mid Ulster on 192.5, while Belfast had 107.

The lowest number of cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days was found in Fermanagh and Omagh with 51.4, Ards and North Down had 58.4 and Derry City and Strabane had 71.

The latest vaccine figures for Northern Ireland show a total of 447,685 vaccines have been administered. Of these 418,209 were first doses and 29,476 were second doses.

Belfast Telegraph



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