No Covid related deaths recorded in NI but more than 100 new cases

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By Q Radio News

No further Covid19 related deaths have been recorded in Northern Ireland. 

It means the total number of fatalities confirmed by the Department of Health remains at 2,129. 

However another 112 positive coronavirus cases have been confirmed here in the past 24 hours.

It comes as Boris Johnson warns that the reduction in infections, hospitalisations and deaths "has not been achieved" by the rollout of COVID vaccines.

The prime minister, speaking the day after the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in England, instead said it was the national shutdown that had been "overwhelmingly important" in driving down COVID rates.

Nearly 40 million vaccine doses have now been given across the UK, with those aged between 45 to 49 now able to book their jab appointments.

They are being invited for vaccines after the government's target for offering a first dose to priority groups one to nine - including all over-50s - was reached three days early.

But, speaking in 10 Downing Street, Mr Johnson suggested the millions of vaccines given over the past few months was not key to the reduction in COVID levels.

He said: "The numbers are down - of infections and hospitalisations and deaths.

"But it is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers - in hospitalisations and in deaths and infections - has not been achieved by the vaccination programme.

"People don't, I think, appreciate that it's the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we're seeing.

"And so, yes of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.

"So, as we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths, and people have just got to understand that."

However, the prime minister added that "at the moment" he couldn't see "any reason" to change his roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions.

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