Last updated April 29 at 17:25 p.m. BST
A total of 3,463 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and 338 deaths have been reported in Northern Ireland by the HSC Public Health Agency, the country’s major regional organization for health protection and health and social wellbeing.
With a total of 1.8 million residents, Northern Ireland is the least-populated country of the United Kingdom and currently carries the fewest COVID-19 cases compared to England, Scotland and Wales, according to data from geographic information system ArcGIS. As of April 28, ArcGIS reports a daily total of 3,996 cases and 586 deaths across Britain.
In a statement published on April 1 by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health, Health Minister Robin Swann said that current projections indicate "continuation of rigorous social distancing will save many lives and protect our health service from collapse".
Meanwhile, First Minister Arlene Foster has announced plans to turn the Eikon Exhibition Center in Lisburn into a coronavirus-dedicated hospital, similar to the Nightingale Hospital in London, England and the Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland.
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However, at the NI-Executive Press Conference held on April 1, deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill raised the issue of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), which — according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) — concerns equipment that protects individuals from health and safety risks at work, namely a safeguard for health workers against transmission of the virus. The HSE has released a document relating to testing the fit of face masks.
"[Health workers are] crying out for PPE, crying out for testing," O’Neill said. To that end, Foster and O’Neill have been in consultation with Chinese medical authorities, who intend to give medical advice and send much-needed equipment to support healthcare professionals and patients throughout the worldwide pandemic.
According to BBC News, an additional 26 ventilators have been made available, bringing the total number in Northern Ireland to 165, and there are plans to turn Northern Ireland’s Ministry of Transport (MoT) centers and the SSE Arena in the Irish city of Belfast into drive-thru coronavirus hubs — where motorists can remain in their vehicles while being tested for the virus.
National Health Service (NHS) COVID-19 hotline: 111
For life-threatening emergencies: 999
Cases by local government district:
- Antrim and Newtownabbey: 174
- Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon: 269
- Belfast: 719
- Causeway Coast and Glens: 116
- Derry and Strabane: 146
- Fermanagh and Omagh: 61
- Lisburn and Castlereagh: 241
- Mid and East Antrim: 160
- Mid Ulster: 119
- Newry, Mourne and Down: 140
- North Down And Ards: 161
- Unknown: 32; location to be confirmed: 1,267
- Total: 3,408