HEALTH Minister Robin Swann has expressed his concern at the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland.
The dashboard has reported 48 new cases in the past 24 hours with the number of people testing positive over the past seven days now at 194.
Mr Swann stated: “I am concerned about the rise in positive cases in recent days. We now have an average of over 27 new positive cases per day compared to approximately three per day a few short weeks ago.
“It is very concerning that nine people have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19, two of which are currently in ICU. This highlights the continuing threat from COVID-19 and we must all do everything within our power to tackle this.
“Contact tracing remains key to tackling COVID-19 and I congratulate the team who are working hard to track and trace those who have been in contact with positive cases. The StopCOVID NI app is also fundamental in this fight.
"Since going live I am heartened that there have been over 230,000 downloads however I am urging everyone to share the app with friends and family who have not yet got it. The more people that have it, the more effective it will be.”
In conclusion, the Minister said: “We spent many weeks clapping in support of our health and social care staff and I urge everyone to remember why we did that. The threat has not gone away and our HSC system still needs our support. The measures that we have introduced will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep more of our loved ones and family safe.
“I therefore make no apology for once again urging everyone to remain vigilant. Do not let down your guard. Continue to wash your hands regularly and wear your face covering in enclosed spaces like shops and always keep your distance.
"It is easy to forget how important social distancing is however we all must remember how far we have come since the beginning of this pandemic. Do not let your resolve wain.
"Stay at least two metres from people from outside your household wherever possible and closely follow other mitigations at all times.”