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Health Minister: We’ve seen Covid cases rise but ‘today’s spike is cause for concern’

Health Minister Robin Swann has expressed concern following a sharp increase in cases in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health dashboard today reported 1,083 new cases in the past 24 hours with the number of people testing positive over the past seven days now at 4,437.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “We have seen the numbers climb in recent weeks but today’s spike in cases is cause for concern. This is the first time since January that we’re reporting a daily change of over 1,000 positive cases, and while we are in a more fortunate position with a large proportion of the population now vaccinated we must remain cautious.

“We need everyone to play their part in helping to stop the spread of the virus. Our advice remains the same – stick to guidelines and regulations, all adults aged 18 and over should get vaccinated, and ensure you and your close contacts self-isolate if you test positive.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in cases in the younger age group so I would make a particular appeal to this group to get vaccinated. Covid-19 has left many with debilitating long-term health issues, don’t put yourself at risk, get the vaccine.

“We all want to enjoy the summer but we must continue to do it safely.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Michael McBride said: “Vaccination is key to preventing serious illness and with such high infection levels circulating in the community it is vital that all those eligible for vaccination come forward for their jab. Our vaccination programme has been very successful and there is no doubt that many people are alive in Northern Ireland today because they have been vaccinated.

The Chief Medical Officer continued: “Our health system is at the point where it is struggling to cope with current levels of demand for care. We simply cannot continue to add more pressure. We must work together to drive down infection levels. This means we must all continue to follow the behaviours that we are all accustomed to, and that we know limit the spread of the virus.”

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