1,217 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Northern Ireland, a new daily record 2 weeks ago

1,217 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Northern Ireland, a new daily record

Four further deaths were also reported.

1,217 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours, the north's Department of Health has confirmed.

Four further deaths were also reported with two of these deaths coming in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 24 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units in the north with 17 on ventilators.

It comes as the Stormont Executive today approved plans to increase restrictions in the region for four weeks.

"We fully appreciate that this will be difficult and worrying news for a lot of people,” Arlene Foster told MLAs earlier today.

“The Executive has taken this decision because it is necessary, and we discussed the impacts in great detail. We do not take this step lightly.”

She said the Covid-19 transmission rates need to be brought down otherwise they will be in a "very difficult place very soon" and urged the public to return to the "vitally important" social distancing.

The new restrictions will see all pubs and restaurants closed, except for takeaways. Schools will close for two weeks around half term.

People are urged to work from home where possible and not to make non-essential journeys.

Current restrictions on household mixing are unchanged, meaning no mixing of households in private dwellings and gatherings in gardens limited to no more than six people from two households.