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Covid-19: Pre-departure tests scrapped for NI arrivals as Covid-related death toll passes 3,000

The Department of Health have confirmed that a number of travel rules previously introduced to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant will be removed.

Belfast International Airport

There have been another four Covid-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours.

The total number of deaths now stands at 3,002– 23 of which occurred in the last seven days.

The ABC Borough accounts for 404- up one- of those deaths. There have been 228 – one more than yesterday – in the NMD district, while Mid Ulster accounts for 280-up one.

There have been a further 6,877 positive cases recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Department of Health’s latest daily dashboard update. There have been 49,270 positive cases in the last seven days.

There were 687 positive cases in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. There were 775 cases in Mid Ulster – the second highest in NI – while Newry Mourne and Down recorded 755. Belfast – the highest in NI – recorded 1,282 positive cases.

There are 404 – up one – patients in hospitals across Northern Ireland as a result of the virus, 30 –down two – of whom are in intensive care units.

A total of 226 Covid patients have been discharged in the last seven days while there have been 247 admissions during the same period.

Currently, there are 86 – down two – Covid patients in the Southern Trust area, 56 – up one – of whom are in Craigavon Area Hospital.

There are ten ICU beds available across Northern Ireland.

Hospital occupancy in Northern Ireland currently stands at 109% – up 1%.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health have confirmed that a number of travel rules previously introduced to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant will be removed.

From 4.00am on Friday 7 January, fully vaccinated passengers and under 18s will no longer need to take a pre-departure test or self-isolate on arrival.

However, fully vaccinated passengers are still required to complete a passenger locator form and take a test on or before day 2 of their arrival.

From Sunday 9 January, this can be either a lateral flow (LFD) or PCR test. NHS Test and Trace tests cannot be used for international travel, LFDs for this purpose must be purchased from a private provider.

Anyone with a positive lateral flow test will be required to book a free confirmatory PCR test and isolate. If the subsequent mandatory confirmatory PCR is negative, then the isolation period can end.

Individuals who are not deemed as fully vaccinated are required to complete a passenger locator form, take a pre-departure test, have booked a PCR day 2 and day 8 test package and complete 10 days self-isolation.

The latest advice and rules on travel are available on NI Direct.

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