Northern Ireland reports lowest case numbers since September

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By Cate McCurry, PA

There have been a three further deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours, the Department of Health has confirmed.

An additional 57 positive cases of Covid-19 were also reported in the last day.

It is the lowest number of cases reported in a 24-hour period since last September.

Meanwhile, a tourism body has called for travel restrictions between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to be eased.

The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA) said Great Britain’s market is important for local tourism.

Joanne Stuart, chief executive of NITA, said the devolved governments need to work together and provide clarity around rules for international travel.

She told BBC Good Morning Ulster: “Anybody coming from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and is staying for more than 24 hours has to self isolate for 10 days.

“(Northern Ireland) is more or less closed, so unless you are travelling for an essential reason you can’t come to Northern Ireland.

“That GB market is going to be really important for us this summer.

“With the testing and the rollout of the vaccination programme and the protocols, airlines and ferries have put in place, we are getting to the point where we should be able to open travel up throughout the UK.

“The problem is we really don’t have a plan.

“We want to see the road map for international travel, but for us we also want the road map for UK travel.”

Ms Stuart said that there is currently no plan of how Northern Ireland will operate when England reopens its international travel.

“We want to see a road map of how we will open international travel and we also want a plan for UK-wide travel,” she added.

She said that Northern Ireland Executive may have its own protocols for people returning from international travel through England.

“The best position is for the UK to put plans in place that is the same throughout the UK,” she added.

“We would call all devolved nations to work together so people can easily understand where they can travel to.”

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