Two registered deaths linked to Covid-19 were recorded in Northern Ireland from 26 September to 2 October, according to official figures.
Data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) states that the number of coronavirus-related deaths until 2 October is 902.
The Department of Health’s total by the same date was 583 deaths.
Nisra counts the instances where coronavirus has been mentioned on a death certificate.
Department of Health figures take account of the number of people who die within 28 days of a positive test for the virus.
Nisra’s figures show that there have been 488 deaths in Northern Ireland hospitals since the start of the pandemic – 81 of whom were normally resident in a care home.
Coronavirus in Northern Ireland
Deaths registered where Covid-19 is recorded on death certificate
There have been 356 deaths in care homes.
Most of the deaths in Northern Ireland related to Covid-19 have occurred amongst people aged 80 and over.
Coronavirus in Northern Ireland
Location of deaths registered where Covid-19 is recorded on death certficate
Nisra figures are contained in its latest weekly bulletin.
Earlier this week Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann said he was concerned that appeals to abide by coronavirus regulations were “falling on too many deaf ears”.
People in Northern Ireland caught breaching coronavirus regulations will now face a minimum fine of £200 under plans agreed by the executive on Thursday.
The use of mandatory face coverings in Northern Ireland is also to be extended.
Face coverings are already compulsory on public transport and for customers in shops, but will now become mandatory in the following settings:
- Taxis and private buses
- For staff in retail shops
- In public areas of civil services offices such as jobs and benefits offices
- When boarding a plane
- In banks, building societies, credit unions and post offices
- For driving instructors and their students
Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle on Friday the Justice Minister Naomi Long said it is “reasonable” that retail staff should ask people to wear a face covering when they are able to.
“It is reasonable to do that, store owners tell us all the time what we can and can’t do,” she said.
“We can’t go into a shop and throw things on the floor for example.”
The minister said that in any circumstances when retail staff are subjected to physical or verbal abuse, they should call the police.
“Those who become difficult, who won’t leave the store and wont put the mask on – that is when you call the police.”
Mrs Long said she believes enforcement should be a cooperative approach.
“There needs to be a collective effort, I am not encouraging people to go up and start challenging each other in the street but what I am saying is talk to your family, talk to your friends and reason with them to wear a mask.”
Despite speculation, the executive has agreed not to impose new local restrictions in the Newry, Mourne and Down or Belfast council areas, where cases have been rising sharply in recent days.
Stormont ministers have not ruled out bringing in a circuit breaker over the half-term holidays, if localised restrictions do not help to halt the rise in infections.
A circuit breaker is a lockdown for a short period of time, possibly two weeks, to slow the spread of the virus.
It would likely see all pubs and restaurants in Northern Ireland forced to close for the two weeks.
But Economy Minister Diane Dodds said it would only be viable with additional financial support from Westminster.
In other coronavirus-related developments:
- Three police officers at Strand Road PSNI Station in Londonderry have tested positive for Covid-19 and 13 other officers, identified as their close contacts, are now self-isolating.
- Queen’s University, Belfast, is to offer students a ‘rent holiday’ of up to three months if they want to leave their university accommodation after a number of positive cases in halls of residence.
- Belfast City Council’s chief executive says there could be further job losses if 120 of its staff who are still on furlough are not able to avail of the Job Support Scheme which will replace furlough.
- Justice Minister Naomi Long has said her doctors now believe she contracted Covid-19 in March when she missed her party conference after suffering a partially-collapsed lung.
- The minimum fine for breaching coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland is rising from £60 to £200 after ministers met on Thursday and agreed to introduce harsher penalties.
- The rules on mandatory face coverings in Northern Ireland are being extended to taxis; private buses; banks; building societies; credit unions; post offices and other settings.