The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has said that 828 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the past 24 hours.

It brings to 4,417 the number of Covid-19 cases that have been identified in the last seven days.

The total number of cases confirmed in Northern Ireland now stands at 16,187.

One further death was also reported by the department, bringing the death toll to 586. 

Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said there is a "rising trajectory" of cases and hospital admissions.

"We are only two short weeks away from seeing hospital admissions as high as they were back in March," he said.

"It is our actions and decisions in the coming days that will determine how bad that situation becomes.

"Our health and care workers don't wish to see you clapping once more, they need you to demonstrate your commitment and support by recommitting to the advice and measures that have gotten us this far to date.

"They now need you to support them by your actions and by your decisions."

Earlier, Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Conor Murphy announced a financial package for businesses in the Derry and Strabane areas where increased pandemic-related restrictions are in place.

Pubs, restaurants and hotels in the area have been operating under tightened coronavirus restrictions since Monday due to the rising number of confirmed cases.

Small businesses are being offered £400 per week over the next two weeks, while for medium-sized businesses the grant on offer is £600.

Northern Ireland's powersharing Executive is discussing measures to tackle increased Covid-19 infection rates.

For several successive days, Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 infection numbers have been higher than the rates south of the border.

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The increased restrictions introduced in the Derry and Strabane area are broadly similar to the Level 3 conditions now operating in the Republic.

One of the decisions facing Stormont ministers is whether the Derry and Strabane measures should be extended to other areas, such as Newry and Mourne and Belfast, where infection rates are rising.

Yesterday, Stormont's chief scientific adviser said it was "almost inevitable" the Covid-19 death rate would rise in the coming weeks.

Professor Ian Young said all indicators of the virus's prevalence in the region were moving in the "wrong direction", albeit on a "slower trajectory" than was witnessed when the first wave hit in March.

Dr McBride said further restrictions were now more likely than not.

Professor Young said hospital admission numbers were doubling every seven days.

He said the rate was every four days when the first lockdown was ordered in March.

Professor Young said the current reproduction number in Northern Ireland, which is the average number of people an infected person infects, stood at 1.4. He said it was 2.8 in March.

"It's a somewhat slower trajectory than in March but heading in the same direction for every aspect of the epidemic," he said.

The CMO said Northern Ireland could reach 300 Covid-19 inpatients a day - the rate back in March - within the "next couple of weeks".

Additional reporting PA