So should I travel to North Tyneside or not? A look at the updated guidance after a day of confusion

Confused? You’re not alone.

North Tyneside is among areas where the Indian covid variant is spreading fastest
North Tyneside is among areas where the Indian covid variant is spreading fastest

A row raged for most of Tuesday, May 26, after it emerged the Government had advised against travelling in and out of North Tyneside for all but essential reasons due to the spread of the Indian covid variant in the area.

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Here is a look at how things stand with travel to and from North Tyneside:

What are the rules on travelling to and from North Tyneside?

In short, there are no rules. However, people have been advised to ‘minimise travel’ in and out of the areas listed by the Government as where the variant is spreading fastest.

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The Government’s original advice was “Avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education”.

But this was revised late on Tuesday, May 26.

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After being contacted by our team, a Government spokesperson said: “We will be updating the guidance for areas where the new Covid-19 variant is spreading to make it clearer we are not imposing local restrictions.

"Instead, we are providing advice on the additional precautions people can take to protect themselves and others in those areas where the new variant is prevalent.

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“This includes, wherever possible, trying to meet outdoors rather than indoors, keeping two metres apart from anyone you don’t live with and minimising travel in and out the area.

"These are not new regulations but they are some of the ways everyone can help bring the variant under control in their local area.”

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Can I still get the Metro or Shields Ferry to North Tyneside?

The simple answer is yes.

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Trains and ferries would have always kept running as usual, but after the original advice from Government came to light, operator Nexus said on Tuesday morning it expected passengers going to and from North Tyneside to only do so for essential purposes.

That changed on Tuesday afternoon and Nexus issued an update at 4pm.

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A Nexus spokesperson said: “The Director of Public Health at North Tyneside Council has clarified with Government this afternoon that there are no travel restrictions to and from that borough.“Customers should still travel safely, plan ahead, wash hands, follow social distancing and wear a face covering unless exempt.“Metro and Ferry services continue to operate as normal for those who need to travel and people can have the confidence to use public transport as all modes are fully covid secure.”

What is the guidance for North Tyneside?

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The Government has now updated its advice for North Tyneside and the other areas concerned.

It reads:

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The new COVID-19 variant spreads more easily from person to person. To help stop the spread, you should take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble.

In the areas listed, wherever possible, you should try to:

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:: Meet outside rather than inside where possible

:: Keep two metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with

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:: Minimise travel in and out of affected areas

You should also:

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:: Get tested twice a week for free and isolate if you are positive

:: Continue to work from home if you can

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:: Get vaccinated when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well

Refer to local health advice for your area (in North Tyneside this can be found at https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1429/coronavirus-covid-19)

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You should get tested for COVID-19. This includes:

:: Arranging to have a PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19

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:: Participating in surge testing in your local area

:: Getting regular rapid tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

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:: Arranging a testing or managed quarantine package if you plan to travel to red or amber list countries. See further details

:: You should self-isolate immediately if you have symptoms or a positive test result for COVID-19. There is financial support if you’re off work because of coronavirus.

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Which are the other areas covered by the guidance at present?

Bedford Borough Council

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Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

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Burnley Borough Council

Kirklees Council

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Leicester City Council

London Borough of Hounslow

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Which areas are part of the North Tyneside Council area?

All areas which are covered by North Tyneside Council are subject to the guidance.

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North Tyneside includes towns such as North Shields, Tynemouth, Whitley Bay, Wallsend, as well as a long list of communities.

All the areas are in alphabetical order below:

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Annitsford

Backworth

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Battle Hill

Benton

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Burradon

Camperdown

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Cullercoats

Dudley

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Earsdon

Forest Hall

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Holystone

Howdon

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Killingworth

Longbenton

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Meadow Well

Monkseaton

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Moorside

Murton

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New York

North Shields

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Northumberland Park

Palmersville

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Percy Main

Preston

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Seaton Burn

Shiremoor

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Tynemouth

Wallsend

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Wellfield

West Allotment

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West Moor

Whitley Bay

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Willington Quay