Two more coronavirus-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland

Two further coronavirus-linked deaths has been reported in Northern Ireland, taking the total recorded by the Department of Health to 541.

There were three new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 4,841 since the pandemic began.

People living alone are able to reunite with their families on Saturday after three months of coronavirus lockdown in Northern Ireland.

They will be able to meet with one other household to combat loneliness caused by the social-distancing restrictions, First Minister Arlene Foster said.

It means an isolated grandparent will be able to see and hug their grandchildren again, and partners separated by the pandemic since March can meet up without needing to observe a two-metre distance. People can also stay overnight if they wish.

The number of people who can meet outside has increased from six to 10, but social distancing must still be observed by these groups to limit the risk of transmission.

Elsewhere on Saturday, several hundred people attended a demonstration outside Belfast’s City Hall to protect war memorials after several statues were threatened in England and elsewhere. The demonstration passed off without any incidents.

The PSNI had urged people to avoid attending public gatherings and “to put public safety first and stay away”.

It said health protection guidelines are still in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Shoppers in Belfast after shopping centres and retailers were given the green light to reopen
Shoppers in Belfast after shopping centres and retailers were given the green light to reopen (Brian Lawless/PA)

All non-essential shops and shopping centres were able to reopen on Friday as Northern Ireland became the first part of the UK to make the move. Shops in the Irish Republic opened on Monday, with shopping centres to open next week.

On Friday the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) published its latest figures which includes all fatalities where Covid-19 is mentioned on a death certificate.

By June 5, it had recorded 779 deaths in total and said these deaths had now fallen for the sixth consecutive week.

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