No new Covid deaths but health minister issues delta warning

There have been no Covid-19 deaths and 70 new cases in the last 24 hours according to the Department of Health.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 5:03 pm
Health Minister Robin Swann pictured a Covid-19 media briefing. (Photo: Pacemaker)

As the number of vaccines that have been administered reaches 1,863,974, Health Minister Robin Swann has said the the actions of the public will have a crucial bearing on the direction of the Covid-19 pandemic this summer.

The Minister was commenting on concerns across these islands about the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

The Public Health Agency said last week that 111 probable and confirmed cases of the Delta variant have been detected throughout all 11 local council areas, 28 of them in Kilkeel in Co Down.

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While the number of confirmed Delta cases remain relatively low in NI, experience in other jurisdictions indicates that this could change very rapidly.

In the event of the Delta variant becoming dominant, modelling indicates the potential for a surge of positive cases and hospitalisations by late summer/early autumn.

Mr Swann stated: “This is not inevitable. There are many uncertainties and we are far from powerless. We need a sustained effort in the coming weeks to stop the virus spreading. Our actions now will have a crucial bearing on how the situation develops.

“We can defend and sustain the progress we have all achieved over recent months.

“The ongoing roll-out of our vaccination programme is central to that. It essential that people keep coming forward for their first and second vaccine doses. The emerging evidence indicates that getting fully vaccinated with both doses is very important in terms of protection from the Delta variant.

“The more people we can get fully vaccinated, the better prepared we will be for any upturn in Covid cases down the line.”

Mr Swann added: “Alongside vaccination, we must all keep following the basics – hands, face, space and fresh air.

“Social distancing, face covering and hand washing are as vital as ever, as is avoiding crowded and cramped indoor spaces with poor ventilation. If you have Covid symptoms, you must self-isolate and get tested.

“Get both your vaccine doses and keep following tried and tested public health advice.”