No Covid related deaths in Northern Ireland but almost 100 new cases

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By Q Radio News

There have been no further deaths of patients who had previously tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health notified 96 new positive cases of the virus in the last 24-hour period.

On Friday morning there were 39 inpatients in hospital who were Covid positive, of whom three were in intensive care.

It comes as Number 10 confirms the prime minister will hold a Downing Street coronavirus news conference later. 

Boris Johnson is expected to discuss the spread of the Indian COVID-19 variant - and the steps the government is taking to combat it - when he addresses the nation at 5pm alongside England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world

Downing Street has insisted that England's roadmap out of lockdown, with the next easing of restrictions taking place on Monday, remains on track.

Latest figures show there are 1,313 cases of the variant in the UK, up from the 520 recorded the previous week.

Government data also shows that four people have died in the UK after being infected with it, the first known domestic deaths from the new variant.

The Department of Health said there is "no firm evidence yet to show this variant has any greater impact on severity of disease or evades the vaccine".

But the PM said earlier this week that the UK was "anxious" about the variant and the government was "ruling nothing out" when it comes to tackling its spread.

The government is now considering bringing forward vaccine second doses in areas with high numbers of cases of the variant.

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