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Cluster of Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland town

PA Media logoPA Media 16/07/2020 By Michael McHugh, PA
a person with collar shirt: Testing and contact tracing is being conducted (Liam McBurney/PA) © Liam McBurney Testing and contact tracing is being conducted (Liam McBurney/PA)

A cluster of Covid-19 cases has been discovered in the Co Londonderry town of Limavady, Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency (PHA) said.

It is linked to a gathering at a house.

Nine additional cases were detected in the wider local government area which includes Limavady since yesterday, Department of Health statistics showed.

Testing and contact tracing is being conducted.

The overall estimated reproductive rate of the disease is 0.5-1.0, meaning less than one person is infected by each case in Northern Ireland.

The PHA said: “The Public Health Agency has identified a cluster of Covid-19 cases in the Limavady area.

“At present we can link the cases to a social gathering in a private/residential setting.

“Testing and contact tracing is being conducted to identify people who may be potentially affected to help prevent any further spread.

“With lockdown restrictions being eased, this type of occurrence is to be expected, which is why the Test, Trace and Protect programme is in place.”

The PHA said it will continue to monitor all cases of Covid-19, look for trends and linked cases and advise or inform the public of any increased risk to health.

It added: “We will not comment on individual cases as this could lead to people being identified and deter others with symptoms coming forward to be tested.

“We would ask everyone to be mindful of this risk.

“This virus has the potential to make its presence felt in any district.

“Everyone should act on the basis that it might potentially be in their neighbourhood right now.

“That’s why following the public health advice on regular hand washing and maintaining a social distance of two metres remains vitally important.”

No Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded by the Department of Health in the past 24 hours, and the toll from the disease remains at 556.

The total of confirmed positive cases is 5,815, an increase of 16.

Michael McBride wearing a suit and tie: Michael McBride (Niall Carson/PA) © Provided by PA Media Michael McBride (Niall Carson/PA)

Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: “Today’s news underlines once again that we have to keep up our guard against Covid-19.

“Social gatherings in private residences have been an issue on both sides of the border.

“We have made important strides forward against the virus, but we must always remember that we have a long way to go.

“We face a very uncertain next few months and the very real prospect of a very challenging autumn and winter.”

Health Minister Robin Swann said officials had long anticipated and warned that clusters would happen.

“I would once again urge everyone across Northern Ireland to guard against complacency.

“The virus is still present in our community and must never be underestimated.”

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