There were 20 further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Friday).
Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – takes in the last 24 hours with all 20 passing away inside that period.
According to the Department’s figures, January 7, 2021 officially marks the worst single day for Covid-related deaths since the pandemic began, with a total of 21 recorded from 12.01am until 11.5pm last night.
The previous high was 19, on April 22, last year.
The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 1,434.
There were a further 1,410 cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 245 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and a further 177 in Newry, Mourne and Down. There were 132 cases in Mid Ulster.
A total of 4,310 individuals were tested.
There are 599 – up seven – people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 44 – no change – of whom are in intensive care units.
There are currently 18 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.
Ninety three – up six – patients are in Craigavon (main image). To date, 810 patients have been discharged from the Co. Armagh hospital.
There are 23 – no change – Covid patients in Daisy Hill, with 13 – up three – in Lurgan Hospital.
All staff in @BelfastTrust have been asked voluntarily to “postpone all planned or booked leave over the next number of weeks”. In a video @drcathyjack said it was the first time an appeal has ever been made but they’d no other choice.. @LouiseMCullen @BBCNewsNI
— Marie-Louise Connolly – Look Forward. #FightBack (@mlchealth) January 8, 2021
The latest figures comes as Northern Ireland, from 12.01 this morning, entered a period of tighter lockdown restrictions, which now forbid – by law – people from leaving home for non-essential reasons.
Justice Minister Naomi Long told the BBC’s The View programme that people would “notice an increase in visible policing” with the tighter lockdown restrictions in place.
“What we don’t want to do is create a climate where people who make minor errors end up being fined,” she said. “There will be enforcement – I’m not saying enforcement is off the table.
“Ultimately it’s about personal responsibility and we have to drive that message home – enforcement should be the last option we take.”
Those found to have breached the rules can be issued with a £200 fixed penalty notice or a fine of up to £5,000 if the case goes to court.