Public health chiefs have urged people in the city to continue to exercise caution as the requirement to self-isolate after a positive test is lifted.
"I think he has lifted them too quickly,” said 72-year-old Irene, from Rowlands Gill.
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Irene said she was worried that the new changes would jeopardise everything for which people had sacrificed so much – including her and Janet: “We did not see each other face-to-face for a year, we could only talk to each other by phone” she said, while Janet added: “For my 80th birthday, she stood at the garden fence.”
Janet said she knew how contagious the virus could be. Both her sons had contracted the disease, despite being double-jabbed: “With the youngest, it started with the ten-year-old and then went through the whole family,” she said.
Businessman Andy Buddin said the country had to move on from lockdown at some point: “We have got to get on with it,” he said.
"We have got to deal with it and I think most people are jabbed now.”
Andy, 57, who runs stalls in Jacky White’s Market, said he had seen the positive effects of lockdown and self-isolation for himself: "I have always been prone to chest infections, but I have not had a bad chest infection for the past two years,” he said
“My mask is to protect me and to protect you.”
NHS worker Suzanne McCue, 42, said staff were in the dark over what would happen next: “We are worried to see how we will get on,” she said.
She was worried the Government had moved too fast to lift all the measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus, with new cases still coming into the ward every day.
"It has gone too quickly,” she said. “They should be slowing it down.”
David Price, from Fulwell, said he did not feel particularly positive about the change in the regulations but the rules could not remain in place forever.
"I think it is something that has got to be done – we have got to live with it unfortunately.
"But I feel sorry for the people who are vulnerable and whose condition puts them more at risk. They are going to be really worried,” said David, 77.
Stan Shields said he had managed to avoid Covid so far – “I am double jabbed, fully boosted and what have you” – but was worried that lifting the rules on self-isolating after a positive test would increase the spread of the virus.
"If someone is Covid positive and they are just out and about walking around and coming into contact with other people, that is dangerous.”
Seventy-three-year-old Stan, who lives in Gateshead but is originally from Pallion, said he understood there was a need to move on but he worried the Government had moved too fast.