Executive meeting postponed after Michelle O’Neill contracts Covid

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A meeting of the Stormont Executive to discuss remaining Covid restrictions has been postponed after deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill contracted the virus.

The Sinn Fein politician tweeted that she is currently self-isolating and hopes to return to public duties next week.

She wrote: “I have contracted Covid-19.

“I am thankful to have had two doses of the vaccine.

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

“Executive Office Minister Declan Kearney will take forward departmental business in the meantime.”

The Executive had been due to meet on Wednesday to discuss Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland.

But it cannot now proceed as it requires both the First and deputy First Minister to chair the meeting.

The Executive is now expected to meet next week.

Certain restrictions still apply in Northern Ireland, with no more than 10 people from three households allowed to meet indoors at a private home and hospitality businesses required to operate table service only for drinks.

One of Ms O’Neill’s ministerial colleagues had earlier called on the Stormont Executive to “set out a path” for ending remaining restrictions.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has called on the Executive to ‘set a path’ to ending Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

“Although we have a steady number of cases, we have had a massive reduction in the number of hospitalisations compared to January and February.

“As an executive we’ve all said we want these restrictions to end as soon as possible, taking all the evidence on board including the economic and health data as well.”

Meanwhile, six further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 have been reported in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health said there had also been 1,313 new confirmed cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.

On Tuesday morning there were 391 Covid-positive patients in hospital, with 44 in intensive care.

So far, 2,445,876 vaccines have been administered.

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