THE number of Covid-related deaths recorded on the Department of Health dashboard has passed 1,000.
Health Minister Robin Swann warned people ‘to never underestimate this virus and never assume it won’t bring tragedy to your door’ as Northern Ireland reached another sad milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The department’s daily dashboard states there have been 15 further deaths recorded, with 7 of these taking place in the previous 24 hours.
The death toll from the virus now stands at 1,011.
The figures also revealed that there have been 391 new positive tests in the past 24 hours, with 2,523 people contracting Covid-19 in the past week.
Mr Swann said, “We always have to remember that we are not talking about statistics but much-loved people who are desperately missed.
“My profound sympathies go to every bereaved family.
“This is another harsh reminder of the threat posed by Covid-19. No one should underestimate the virus, or delude themselves that it could never affect them.
“I am very aware that there is still a small and vociferous minority who seek to play down the Coronavirus risks. This includes those who spout conspiracy theories on social media and those who think Northern Ireland could somehow have breezed through all this without adopting restrictions that were widely deployed elsewhere.
“To anyone trying to minimise the impact, I say please think again,” said Mr Swann.
The Minister again urged vigilance in terms of following public health advice.
“We need to ensure we get maximum benefit from the current restrictions in terms of pushing down infection rates. The same vigilance will be essential throughout Christmas and well beyond it.
“January and February are extremely difficult months for our health service, even in normal times. We need to keep doing everything we can to stop the virus spreading today and tomorrow, this week and next. Our actions will have a direct bearing on how the disease spreads, how it will impact on our lives and whether there will be a need for further restrictions in early 2021,” said Mr Swann.