A joint statement – issued by the leaders of councils in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland on Friday, October 16 – confirmed that Covid alert level two will remain in place for the time being.
This followed speculation that an announcement was due to be made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson about a change to Tier 3 – the ‘very high’ level – in the North East.
The statement, which can be read in full below, was also signed by North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.
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It said: “We can confirm we have had further constructive discussions with government today (Friday, October 16) and the North East is staying at High Alert Level 2.
“Due to the combined efforts of our residents, businesses and communities since we introduced restrictions across the region on September 18, the public health data is showing signs of the number of Covid-19 cases stabilising.
“We would like to thank every person in the region for the role they are playing in tackling this virus but, if we are to avoid further restrictions, then it is vital every single one of us follows the law and guidance. There is absolutely no room for complacency.”
“We are at a critical point and cannot afford to let the virus rip through our communities – we need everyone to do their bit.
“We continue to engage with government about the need for crucial economic support as well as localised control of Test and Trace, but we welcome the fact we are being listened to and we are committed to ongoing, constructive dialogue.”
Council chiefs confirmed after a meeting on Thursday, October 15 that they would jointly oppose any move to Tier 3, adding that the evidence ‘did not support’ it being the right decision.
They also called for a better package of financial support for those whose jobs would be affected by stricter rules.
Tier 3 restrictions are currently in place in the Liverpool City region. They will come into force in Lancashire from Saturday.
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