NI Covid-19 Total Rises By Two

Two further people have tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has revealed.

Both cases are adults and are declared as secondary transmissions. One of the individuals had recently travelled from northern Italy, while the other has been linked to a previously reported patient who travelled to the region.

The development brings totals in the region to 20.

These figures are correct as of 2pm on Thursday 12 March, with a total of 279 tests carried out.

Work is underway to trace people who the new patients have been in contact with.

Elsewhere, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced that all schools, colleges and childcare facilities in the Republic of Ireland will close.

The lockdown will take affect from 6pm on Thursday 12 March and continue until the end of the month.

It comes after the first death was confirmed in the Republic on Wednesday.
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Indoor gatherings of 100 people or more and outdoor gatherings of 500 and above should be cancelled, according to Irish Government advice.

Public transport will continue and shops will remain open, however members of the public are advised to limit social gatherings and restaurants and cafes should follow "social distancing" regulations.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce an acceleration of control measures in the coming hours.

Queen's University Belfast today announced it will be postponing all large-scale events with immediate effect and limiting all travel for business and study reasons.

The cancellation of events does not, as present, apply to lectures or other teaching activities.

Down Royal Racecourse also confirmed today that its St Patrick's Day race event will go ahead but behind closed doors.

Schools and universities are running as normal at present.

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