Coronavirus NI - 32 year-old cafe worker dies after testing positive for COVID-19 | Concern NI records 74 additional cases in 24 hours - highest daily number of infections since May 13

A Northern Ireland cafe worker has died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Friday, 14th August 2020, 5:29 pm
The woman died in hospital on Thursday. (Photo: PA Wire)

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LIVE UPDATES: COVID-19 in Northern Ireland on Friday August 14, 2020

Last updated: Friday, 14 August, 2020, 16:44

  • One additional COVID-19 related death recorded in NI
  • Concern as 74 new infections detected in last 24 hours
  • France to be added to list of countries not exempt from quarantine rules
  • Exam results fiasco continues as oversight committee grills Education Minister Peter Weir

NI cafe worker who tested positive for COVID-19 dies

The latest death was of Andrea Maftei, 32, originally from Romania but working in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Cafe Nobel said its staff were “astounded” and “heartbroken”.

It said in an online post: “Andrea worked with us for twelve fantastic years, not only was she a trusted employee but a very loyal friend.”

The cafe said environmental health, the Public Health Agency and contact tracing bodies had concluded that the illness was contracted through a community-based outbreak and not through its food premises.

It added: “Unfortunately, Andrea has been taken from us under horrendous circumstances.”

One additional death and 74 new cases in 24 hours

The Department of Health (DoH) has recorded one additional COVID-19 related death in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours.

The DoH also recorded a spike in the number of new infections with 74 detected in the last 24 hours.

The death-toll in Northern Ireland now stands at 558 and total number of people to have tested positive for the virus now stands at 6,299.

NI students could have to pay to resit exams

Justin Edwards, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, tells Stormont Education Committee after question from Catherine Kelly MLA that Northern Ireland students might have to pay to retake examinations.

CCEA has yet to decide this but Mr. Edwards made a point of saying that CCEA is one of the least expensive examination bodies in the United Kingdom.

‘My organisation has worked without a break'

Justin Edwards, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

Justin Edwards, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, hits back at Daniel McCrossan stating CCEA “has worked without a break” to deliver this grading system.

Daniel McCrossan MLA tells CCEA chief he would grade his performance as a U

The past performance of schools WILL be used to determine the GCSE results for NI schoolchildren next week

Margaret Farragher, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment has just said that CEA will be using the past performance of schools to determine the GCSE results of NI schoolchildren who will receive their results next week.

Decision taken in Scotland was ‘wrong’ says Minister Weir

Sinn Fein MLA Catherine Kelly urged Mr Weir to follow the example of Scottish education secretary John Swinney and replace the disputed standardised results with teacher estimated grades.

“Why can you not show the same leadership and show that young people are at the very heart of decision-making going forward?” she asked.

The MLA called on the minister to “reverse this shambles”, insisting the judgment of teachers had more credibility than a “mystery algorithm”.

Mr Weir made clear he would not be replicating the move by the Scottish government.

“I think the Scottish decision was wrong,” he said.

‘More top grades in 2020 than in 2019'

Mr Weir highlighted that more top grades were awarded in 2020 than in previous years.

But he acknowledged the impact on those individuals who believed they had been unfairly treated.

Mr Weir said that was why a fast-tracked appeals process had been established.

Minister’s approach labelled a ‘debacle’ by committee member

SDLP member Daniel McCrossan branded the situation a “debacle”.

He expressed concern about the mental health impact on children, revealing a GP had contacted him to alert him that three pupils who had missed out on university places had presented with suicidal thoughts.

“This model failed, it failed our children and it failed our young people,” he said.

He added: “As the result of this pandemic, they should not pay the price.”

Mr McCrossan demanded more transparency on the algorithm used to calculate the grades.

Education Minister is urged by committee chairperson to ‘intervene'

Committee chair Chris Lyttle urged the minister to intervene and ensure pupils were awarded grades based on either their AS-level attainment or the estimated grade assessed by their teacher.

“These are unprecedented times,” he said.

Mr Lyttle said he was aware of a school that had seen its A-C attainment rate fall from 90% last year to 60% under the calculation model.

He said the minister was “increasingly isolated” in refusing to use the teacher assessments to allocate the grades.

Mr Weir responded by insisting that if teacher assessments were used without standardisation the results would not have “any level of credibility” because the results would be so much higher than those achieved in previous years.

He said that approach would also be unfair on pupils, as some teachers would have been “generous” in estimating grades while others had been “tough” on their students.

“There would be no equality whatsoever,” said Mr Weir.

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