Some students at Queen's University's Halls of Residence in Belfast have been told to self-isolate after a small number of them tested positive for Covid-19.

It is understood that the buildings involved are in the Malone Road area, close to the university in the south of the city.

Separately, Northern Ireland has been chosen as one of the areas to take part in a major UK trial of a potential vaccine to help in the fight against Covid-19.

Health officials are seeking 350 volunteers from Northern Ireland to participate in the trial, which is expected to start by the end of the week.

Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann urged the public to participate.

"The importance of finding a vaccine to help in the battle against this virus cannot be overstated," he added.

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"Despite the magnificent efforts of our health service and the amazing response of society as a whole we remain on a knife edge as we seek to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

"As we continue to put in place all possible measures there's never been a more important time for health research studies into the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.

"Currently there are over 30 vaccine trials taking place around the world in an effort to discover as soon as possible which will be safe and effective.

"It is vital that Northern Ireland joins this important worldwide effort."

A Northern Ireland Covid-19 Vaccine Research Delivery Group, led by the HSC research and development division of the Public Health Agency, has been set up to deliver Covid-19 vaccine trials in Northern Ireland.

The trial is being run by Novavax.

The trial will take place in sites across the UK and it is anticipated that the first participants will be recruited in Northern Ireland at the start of October.

Sinn Féin's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O Neill is off work today with a head cold and will be tested for Covid-19 as a precaution. She is expected to return to Stormont tomorrow.

A Sinn Féin spokesman confirmed the deputy first minister hopes to participate in a planned meeting with the visiting US envoy to Northern Ireland, Mike Mulvaney, in Belfast tomorrow. 

Earlier this month the First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster missed some engagements due to a heavy cold.

Additional reporting PA