“I welcome today’s publication by NISRA of the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in Northern Ireland and the fact that they are reflecting the deaths sadly occurring in care homes and in the community. I believe this information provides us with a more transparent picture of the impact of the virus.

“It is with great sadness that we can also note the true effect that this pandemic is having on Northern Ireland’s older population, with around 70% of the deaths registered, coming from those aged 75 and over.

“Every death recorded is the tragic loss of a family member, and my thoughts are with each of these families at this time.

"I must reiterate what others have recently stated. This is not a time for complacency. We must continue to follow social distancing guidelines and protect as many of our older population as possible, regardless of where they are living. This includes the continuous supply of appropriate PPE to care home staff and those working in the community, and testing for all those who need it.

“Care workers are under an incredible amount of pressure during this time. They are going above and beyond to look after some of the most vulnerable in our society and require all our support so they can do their vital job. Again, I would urge the public to adhere to social distancing guidelines – only leave the house if absolutely necessary; maintain a two metre distance when out in public and continue to wash hands regularly. With everyone playing their part we will get through this difficult time. ”

You can view NISRA's report here: https://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/weekly-deaths