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COVID-19 Fact Checks

What are ‘excess deaths’?

Excess deaths are defined as deaths during a given period that are greater than the usual number of deaths in similar historic time periods. Changes in the number of excess deaths above or below the predicted average may indicate an event, for example a strain of Flu that resulted in more deaths than usual.  For 2020, the most significant event associated with excess deaths is likely to be the COVID-19 outbreak.

Has COVID-19 contributed to excess deaths in Northern Ireland?

What is the StopCOVID NI app?

The StopCOVID NI app is a contact tracing app for Northern Ireland

What is a contact tracing app?

A contact tracing app is a smartphone application that helps people detect if they have been in close contact with someone who has subsequently received a positive test for COVID-19.

How do I download the StopCOVID NI app?

The app is available to download now on your mobile phone from Apple App Store and the Google Play Store:

The Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Ireland have published a document, Coronavirus related health inequalities in Northern Ireland.   

What is the report about?

The report analysed infection rates and hospital admission rates for COVID-19. A number of factors were explored:


On 6 August, the NI Executive announced that the use of face coverings in certain indoor settings will be mandatory from Monday August 10.

A public information campaign called ‘Wear one for Everyone’ was announced to raise awareness of the benefits of face masks/covering


Shielding in Northern Ireland

This article explains what shielding letters are, who should have received them and who sends them.  The information and guidance on shielding is being actively reviewed and will change as the NI COVID-19 Recovery Plan is implemented. 

FactCheckNI have created a LIVE Q&A article on shielding letters which provides information on a range of issues relating to sheilding including accessing food and medication.  It is updated as and when new information becomes available - you can find it here


Is the Food Parcel scheme still available? 

The Food Parcel Scheme provided by the Department for Communities ended on 31 July 2020. 

Is other help available? 

Until 23 September, the COVID-19 Community Helpline will signpost anyone in need.  You can visit the Advice NI website here, phone the COVID-19 freephone community helpline on 0808 802 0020, email: or text: ACTION to 81025 to discuss your needs.   


The Northern Ireland Executive launched their COVID-19 recovery plan Coronavirus: Our Approach to Decision Making on 12 May 2020.  They continually review COVID-19 restrictions and announce changes in line with what is included in the 5 step plan.     

Health is devolved in Northern Ireland (NI) which means decisions about health are made by the Government in NI. The Government is called the Northern Ireland Executive (NI Executive).

During the COVID-19 outbreak the NI Executive makes the overall decisions about how we will deal with the crisis.  It works closely with wider UK (England, Scotland and Wales) and Republic of Ireland Governments to look at the best way to use the health system to fight COVID-19 and protect people’s health

This article was written on 01 May 2020 while NI was in Lockdown.  The information and guidance will change as the NI COVID-19 Recovery Plan is implemented.  For the most up-to-date information go to our article on the recovery plan here or NI Direct 

What is ‘Lockdown’?