The First Minister Arlene Foster has said that NI could have contact tracing for “quite some time, possibly even up to two years”.

She was speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Programme on Sunday.

Northern Ireland was the first of the four UK administrations to roll out a contact tracing programme, as part of its plans to tackle coronavirus.

She said contact tracing was vital to “make sure that we know where the virus is in our community,” she said.

On Sunday one more coronavirus-related death was recorded by the Department of Health, bringing its total, of mainly hospital deaths, to 523.

There are now 4,716 confirmed cases in Northern Ireland, an increase of seven from Saturday.

The Republic of Ireland recorded two further deaths related to Covid-19 on Sunday. There have now been 1,652 coronavirus-related deaths in the country.

“It’s something that is forming the cornerstone of coming out of lockdown and being able to relax those regulations which we understand are very draconian,” she added.

A manual system is currently being used and she told the programme it has been going well.

She said that about 30 cases a day are contacted and subsequently, those they have had contact with, are spoken to.

“Contact tracing is very much about coming out of restrictions. It’s testing, tracing, isolating and then supporting those who we need to contact,” she said.

“We are scaling that up and will be able to scale it up and down,” she added.

Source: BBC News

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