COVID-19 UPDATE - 8 further deaths and 1831 new positive cases

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By Q Radio News and PA

Eight further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 have been reported in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health said there had also been 1,831 new confirmed cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.

On Thursday morning, there were 472 Covid-19 inpatients in hospital, 44 of whom were in intensive care.

A total of 2,479,883 vaccines have been administered.

The figures come as the Northern Ireland Assembly has been recalled to debate rising pupil absences in schools due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Minister Michelle McIlveen was in the chamber as Sinn Fein MLA Nicola Brogan opened the debate, saying she has been “inundated” with “grave concerns” from principals, school leaders, teachers, parents and pupils.

She said they are facing “huge disruption to education and daily life because of the poor planning and preparation of our education minister”.

Ms Brogan said that, at Larne High School, 400 out of 700 children had had to stay at home due to Covid-19.

“Within days of trying to implement the minister’s restart, teachers are reporting difficulties of keeping children safe and in school, and the scale of the disarray became increasingly more apparent,” she said.

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