Michelle O’Neill tests positive for COVID-19 as 1 in 40 in NI now infected

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Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin leader in the north Michelle O’Neill has confirmed she has coronavirus.

The joint head of the NI Executive however said she hopes to be back doing public duties next week once her self-isolation ends.

Ms O’Neill broke the news on Twitter today and expressed her gratitude for having received the two vaccines.

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She said: “I have contracted Covid-19. I am thankful to have had two doses of the vaccine.

Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin leader in the north Michelle O'Neill.Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin leader in the north Michelle O'Neill.
Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin leader in the north Michelle O'Neill.

“I’ll remain in self-isolation, and hope to return to my public duties next week.”

In the meantine, she added, Executive Office Minister Declan Kearney, will take forward Departmental business.

The Department of Health in the north meanwhile said over recent days that the rate of transmission of Covid-19 is currently “very high in Northern Ireland with 1 person in every 40 estimated to have the virus”.

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To help reduce transmission, the public are encouraged to spend as much time outside as possible and to increase ventilation when inside.

The Chief Medical Officer said: “Covid-19 transmits best when people meet up indoors particularly when there is poor ventilation. Make the most of the last days of summer and the best of the first days of autumn by meeting friends and family outdoors as much as possible. When inside remember to open windows to increase ventilation and reduce your risk of infection.”

Michael McBride is also calling on those not already vaccinated to get the jab as soon as possible. He said: “Vaccination continues to be our most effective way of reducing transmission of the virus. If you’re not yet vaccinated please take the opportunity and go along to one of the pop up vaccine clinics.”

For further information on mobile vaccination clinics visit: www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/get-covid-19-vaccination-northern-irelandConcluding, Professor Sir Michael McBride said: “It is vital that we remember the basics and keep following the public health advice. The advice remains - hands, face, space and let the fresh air in. Social distancing, face covering and hand washing all have a role to play in reducing transmission of this virus. Avoid busy and cramped indoor settings where ventilation is poor and if you have Covid symptoms, self-isolate and book a PCR test. Please continue doing all that you can to stop the spread infection.”