MORE than 5,000 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Northern Ireland in the past 72 hours.
A further 1,662 cases of Covid-19 were recorded yesterday while in the previous 48 hours there were 3,576 cases.
The tally since testing started at the beginning of the pandemic stand at more than 78,000.
The Department of Health also announced six further Covid-related deaths yesterday bringing the overall fatality total to 1,354.
The latest figures mean there have been more than 11,800 news cases in the north in the past seven days.
It comes as Northern Ireland enters its second week of a six-week lockdown which has seen all non-essential shops close.
A week long curfew implemented at the beginning of the lockdown at Christmas ended at the weekend.
Of the new cases, the majority were in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area, where there were 291 followed by Belfast where there were 253.
There were 209 in Newry, Mourne and Down.
There are currently, 507 inpatients in the north’s hospitals who have tested positive for coronavirus.
There are 36 Covid-patients being cared for in intensive care while 22 of these are ventilated.
Hospitals in Northern Ireland are currently at 96 per cent capacity though Antrim Area Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital are bother operating beyond their current available bed capacity.
Of those who have died so far, 51 per cent were male and the majority were aged 80 and over.
A total of 999 people have so far died in hospital from Covid-19 while 313 have been in care homes and 27 have have been in the community.
Meanwhile in the Republic, the Department of Health last night announced 4,962 new coronavirus cases and seven further deaths.
There are currently 673 patients in hospitals in the south being treated for the virus, with 75 admissions in the last 24 hours.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has urged older and more vulnerable people not to leave their homes unless for absolutely essential reasons.
“We are seeing a really significant surge in infection, which is leading to a very rapid increase in both hospitalisations and admissions to critical care units.
“This is not only unsustainable for the healthcare system, but also a deeply concerning level of preventable sickness and suffering that we must work together to address as quickly as possible.”
He added: “We must be as dedicated as we all were in the spring in our commitment to following the public health advice.”
“Act as though you are infectious. Stay at home. Work from home starting from tomorrow, and if you are an employer, ask your employees to work at home. What we all do at a collective level today will have a direct impact on the level of infection and hospitalisations in the weeks to come.”
— to www.irishnews.com