'We are a city who looks after each other' - City council boss' tribute to Sunderland's spirit during a year of Covid
Sunderland’s senior councillor has paid tribute to the city’s fighting spirit as it marks a year of coronavirus.
Marion Jolliff became the city's first confirmed Covid-19 patient after she was admitted to hospital on March 5 last year.
Since then, the city has endured three national lockdowns and spent time in the top three of the government’s four coronavirus alert tiers.
City council leader Coun Graeme Miller said he was proud of the way the city had come together in the face of the virus: “The people of Sunderland have been brilliant throughout this pandemic,” he said.
"We are known as a city where people look out for each other, and that has never been more true than it has these last 12 months. Despite the massive toll Covid has taken on our families, our businesses and our communities, we have pulled together and stuck to the rules.”
Everyone had faced sacrifices, he added: “For some it’s been the heart-breaking loss of a loved one, for others the devastating impact on the business they’ve worked so hard to grow.
"Then there’s been the milestone occasions we haven’t been able to mark or celebrate the way we would in normal times.”
And he paid tribute to the front-line workers who had have put their lives on the line: “Day after day, we’ve seen our NHS colleagues, health and social care staff and key workers - who have worked tirelessly to protect our communities and deliver critical services,” he said.
"Our community and voluntary sector partners have been equally brilliant in helping us provide support to our city’s most vulnerable.
"Our residents have also shown the true meaning of community spirit by looking out for one another.”
This was not the time to start flouting the rules, he said: “We’re all desperately looking forward to some kind of normality but how we behave these next few weeks and months is crucial to getting our lives, our city and our economy back on track.
“So I’d like to thank everyone in our city for everything they’ve done so far to get infection rates down but also remind them it’s essential each and every one of us continues to follow the guidance.”