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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. All eyes on tomorrow

    That's it from today's live coverage of the Covid-19 update from Stormont - we'll have all the latest tomorrow when the executive is due to decide on whether it should tighten coronavirus restrictions, as per Health Minister Robin Swann's recommendations.

    In the meantime you can stay up to date with the latest on the BBC News NI website, BBC Newsline on TV/BBCiPlayer and BBC Radio Ulster.

    Have a good night.

  2. In case you missed it...'s the key points from the health minister's Covid-19 update from Stormont.

    • Robin Swann announces he is recommending a tightening of Covid-19 restrictions in NI
    • He says "concrete action" is now needed to stop the spread of the virus and he's confident the executive will agree to take action at its meeting tomorrow
    • NI's current case rate is 35 per 100,000 people - the UK has imposed quarantine restrictions on countries which has a rate in excess of 20 per 100,000
    • Chief scientific adviser Prof Ian Young said there was no area of Northern Ireland where the virus had not hit in recent weeks
  3. Swann 'confident' executive will agree to tighten restrictions

    Covid-19 tests

    If you missed the Stormont press conference, the main takeaway is that Health Minister Robin Swann has said that "concrete action" is now necessary to stop the spread of Covid-19.

    He said he would recommend the executive tightens restrictions when ministers meet on Thursday.

    Mr Swann added that decisions would be required on whether it would apply to Northern Ireland as a whole or to more localised areas, with higher rates of the virus.

    He also said he was confident ministers would agree on action now, hopefully avoiding more restrictions later.

    Northern Ireland's current case rate is 35 per 100,000 people - a figure far above the level at which the UK has imposed quarantine restrictions on other countries, which was a rate in excess of 20 cases per 100,000 people.

    Read more on BBC News NI's report on the press conference here.

  4. Health minister hits out at DUP MP over Covid-19 'language'

    Robin Swann finishes up today's briefing by criticising comments made by DUP MP Sammy Wilson.

    The health minister was responding to a question, in which a reporter quoted a press release issued by Mr Wilson saying Mr Swann's attitude was that "to put your nose outside your door was to almost invite immediate death".

    Robin Swann

    Robin Swann says he had not read the comments, nor would he "lower" himself to comment on them, but did say the East Antrim MP should remember he has had two death threats since becoming health minister before making comments about his approach to coronavirus.

    "Where Sammy might like colourful language, I think he needs to be reflective on the language that he does use and the impression it engenders," he continues.

    Mr Swann adds that Mr Wilson should "get on the same page as the messaging that some of the members of his own party who have been very supportive of the work that has been done."

    With that, the three men put their face coverings back on and the briefing came to an end.

  5. School closures would be a 'last step' - Swann

    Mr Swann is pressed on the issue of defining the size of any areas involved in localised restrictions.

    This will be discussed by the executive tomorrow, he explains.

    "The chief medical officer has made it clear there is no consistency in the level of the virus across NI or across a council area," he says.

    He adds it would be hard to isolate a single postcode so they "may look at postcodes that are concurrent and side-by-side".

    These are not decisions that would be taken lightly, he says.

    robin swann

    He is asked if it could be a curfew like Bolton and Leicester or restaurants being told they can only deliver but he will not be drawn on what form the advice given to the executive has taken.

    He simply says there are a number of avenues open and "action must be take".

    "We have to take a step back," he says.

    However he says closing schools "wouldn't be a step we would want to take" in any localised lockdown, pointing to the health benefits of having schools open.

    He says closing schools would be a last step.

  6. Experts not thinking about waves or surges - Prof Young

    "We're not thinking in terms of waves or surges at the moment," according to NI's chief scientific advisor.

    Professor Ian Young says although graphs charting case numbers show an upward trend "we can't compare it to that initial curve" earlier this year.

    He says circumstances, including the scale of testing, means it is a "different situation".

    "What we're seeing now may look like the beginning of a wave, but that's not how we're thinking about it," he explains.

    Prof Young says experts are analysing the figures to see if there is a "chance to slow down or prevent" another wave of Covid-19.

  7. Swann hits out 'conspiracy theorists' and 'keyboard warriors'

    The Health Minister reminds people the strong likelihood is that if people do not follow health advice and if cases continue to rise then those in care homes and the medically vulnerable will suffer.

    Mr Swann goes on to hit out at what he calls "keyboard warriors".

    He speaks to "all those people who say it's going to be 'grand' and things are being 'blown out of proportion'".

    "You're wrong," he says.

    "If they were to knock the door of those who have lost a loved one they would quickly realise how selfish they are," he adds.

    He acknowledges that a fast-changing situation can leave people confused.

    Robin Swann

    He criticises those who oppose vaccines, face masks and make "bogus claims about hoaxes and scaremongering".

    He says that if we take steps now to comply with public health advice then we can avoid more measures later.

    Covid-19 remains a life and death situation, he says, and asks people to continue to follow advice: "Keep your distance, wear a face mask and wash your hands."

    However it is not all negative, he says.

    He describes how various medical services have started up again and there has been a record number of kidney transplants performed in NI despite Covid.

  8. Young people are 'not immune' - Dr Michael McBride

    The chief medical officer warns young people they "are not immune" to Covid-19 and they need to take care that they do not spread the virus.

    "I urge you all, continue to behave responsibly, adhere to the guidance," Dr Michael McBride says, in a message directed to younger generations.

    Dr Michael McBride

    "Please do not risk bringing this virus home to your parents and grandparents," he adds.

    "Do not become the reason why they become ill."

  9. Huge rise in cases since beginning of July - Prof Young

    Northern Ireland's chief scientific advisor Professor Ian Young says there has been a twenty-fold rise in the daily number of new coronavirus cases since the beginning of July.

    Prof Young added that increased testing, which has risen five-fold, does not explain the rise in cases.

    He says it will be "inevitable" that more cases will emerge among older people in Northern Ireland.

    Prof Ian Young

    This will lead to more hospital admissions and "more deaths", he warns.

    Speaking at a briefing at Stormont, Prof Young says there is no place in Northern Ireland where the virus does not exist in the community.

  10. 'Time has come to limit contacts between people' - Swann

    NI Health Minister Robin Swann takes to the podium with a simple opening message: "The summer is over."

    He says the question that faces the executive is how to stem a disturbing increase in NI Covid-19 cases.

    He says tomorrow's executive will have recommendations on the tightening of some restrictions. He says decisions will be taken as to whether this will "apply to the whole of NI or more localised areas with higher rates of prevalence".

    "I am confident ministers will agree with me on the need for action - the figures suggest the time has come that we need to introduce measures to limit contact between people," he says.

    Robin Swann

    "Our case numbers have been rising sharply and so have the percentage of positive tests and more people of an older age are testing positive.

    "We know the implications of that for our loved ones.

    "If a foreign country had our figures we would be imposing quarantine on anyone returning from us."

    He says he does not want to restrict freedom and had supported the opening society for peoples' mental and physically health and the economy.

    He says it was good that hospital admissions were low but warned that this could change.

    He also urges people to download the Covid app StopCovidNI as he says the more who download it, the better it would work.

  11. Stormont briefing begins

    Health Minister Robin Swann, Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride and Chief Scientific Adviser Ian Young are now at the podiums in Stormont - watch live by hitting the button at the top of this page.

  12. 16 roles at risk at NI cancer charity

    The Northern Ireland Hospice says it will be starting a staff consultation process that may result in a number of redundancies.

    It is understood 16 posts are at risk.

    The hospice has had to temporarily close shops and cancel fundraising activity due to Covid-19.

    Chief executive Heather Weir says the cost-cutting measures were taken with "great sadness".

    "At a time when our services are needed more than ever, we are facing our biggest threat," she said.


    Ms Weir says government aid and the public response to the emergency appeal had "covered our losses, but this alone will not sustain our services going forward".

    She says this year had seen a "huge increase" in the demand for hospice care and capacity to deliver services must be protected.

    “Covid-19 has been the biggest threat we have ever faced, but the hospice has been providing care in Northern Ireland for over 40 years and we are taking these decisions now so we can continue to deliver our care for another 40 years,” she adds.

    “We envisage that by taking these decisions now, this will enable the charity to remain resilient in the coming months and into the future.”

  13. Prince William thanks emergency services during Belfast visit

    Prince William

    The Duke of Cambridge has thanked the members of Northern Ireland's emergency services for their Covid-19 efforts during a visit to Belfast.

    Prince William was speaking to members of the police, fire and ambulance services during a visit to the Police Service of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) Garnerville academy.

    He is also meeting with the chiefs of each service as well as members of the PSNI's peer support team.

    The prince is on a one-day visit to the city.

  14. NI health chiefs consider options as cases rise

    Marie-Louise Connolly

    BBC News NI Health Correspondent


    With Robin Swann set to take to the podium at Stormont very shortly, there's some indication that there could be changes coming soon to the rules around social gatherings.

    The BBC understands health officials here are considering a range of options.

    The executive would make that decision, but it would be based on advice from health officials including the chief medical and scientific officers.

    There is growing concern about the rising number of Covid-19 cases- especially amongst younger people.

    Northern Ireland's case rate per 100K population is the highest across the UK.

    Read more from Marie-Louise Connolly.

  15. Join us for today's live conference

    Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann is due to give an update from Stormont at about 4pm.

    Keep an eye on this page to watch live.

    robin swann