Concern expressed following Coronavirus outbreaks in Co Down

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By Rebecca Black, PA

The Health Promotion Agency says two outbreaks of Covid 19 in county down are household related infections rather than clusters.

They centre on the village of Crossgar and Ballynahinch town .

Department of Health data shows the Newry, Mourne and Down district - which includes the two areas - have had the most new cases in the last week.

A cafe and a care home in Crossgar have closed their doors as a precaution, citing an "outbreak of Covid 19 in our area".

It is understood the virus was detected over three households and had been identified through contact tracing.

In a post on social media, Crossgar business Cafe Q said it had taken the decision to close for sit-in customers for "a few weeks".

"No one on our staff has been affected and we want them that to stay this way and ensure that our customers also remain healthy," the business posted on its Facebook page.

SDLP South Down MLA Colin McGrath has urged local people to remain vigilant.

"The virus has been a worrying development sweeping across the world and it is concerning to hear that it has spiked in the Crossgar and Ballynahinch area," he said.

"This underscores the need for people to be vigilant and ensure that they are continuing to wash their hands and be observant of social distancing rules.

"While we have had many easements to the regulations that were in place to guide us through this pandemic, it is apparent that it is still in our community and spikes can occur at any stage in any place.

"I welcome that the department has moved quickly to isolate this outbreak and I would ask the community to be vigilant of further cases and to follow any official directions to try and contain this outbreak.

"Contact tracing is an important element and if anyone is asked to isolate they should do so immediately.

"It is through working together with the authorities that we will contain any spread. I wish all those who have contracted the virus a quick return to full health and hope they receive all the support from the Health Services to help returns to full health."

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