To curb the spread of coronavirus, when a region reports a high number of COVID-19 cases local lockdowns are being implemented. From 6pm on Thursday, the county of Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales will face additional lockdown restrictions to the rest of the UK. Read on to find out which areas of the North East will be placed under additional lockdown restrictions next.
According to ministers, parts of the North East are expected to be placed under lockdown this week.
Health Minister Edward Argar told Sky News: “In the North East we are seeing a spike in infections.
“It is exactly what we have seen in the North West. We monitor that rate. Where we need to, we step in and take action.”
Other ministers have also announced further restrictions for the North East in recent days.
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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told ITV’s Peston programme on Wednesday: “The number of cases has been rising rapidly in many parts of the country, but in particular in the North East, and so a decision has been made to impose further restrictions there.
“And a full announcement will be made tomorrow and so people living in that part of the country should watch out for that.
“And the measures will come into play at midnight on Thursday evening.
“So, over the course of the day a full briefing will be made available to everybody including the councils and business community.”
What areas are going into lockdown?
As of the morning of Thursday, September 17, the Government has not yet confirmed which areas are going into local lockdown.
But according to the Newcastle Chronicle, the new restrictions will apply to Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland, Sunderland, County Durham and Gateshead.
Public Health England release a local authority watchlist every week, with the last report published on September 11, 2020.
A number of the authorities reportedly going into the local lockdown in the North East this week are listed as areas of ‘Enhanced Support’ or ‘Concern’.
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Authorities listed as areas of enhanced support or concern on the PHE watchlist are being monitored by the Government, to see if an upgrade to ‘Intervention’ is needed if cases continue to rise.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to give a briefing about the new measures for the North East at 11am on Thursday.
According to Mr Jenrick, the measures will take effect at midnight on Thursday evening.
The new restrictions are expected to affect some two million people across the region.
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes tweeted: “Some additional, temporary restrictions are being planned to prevent another full lockdown.”
What will the new lockdown restrictions be?
According to reports, the new restrictions in the North East will include a ban on socialising with other households – both indoors and outdoors.
Restrictions are also likely to include a 10pm curfew on premises such as restaurants and pubs, as experts have warned social distancing measures are less effective when alcohol is consumed.
Additional guidance on travel, holidays, care homes and sporting visits are also expected to be announced.
Chronicle Live reports care home visits will be restricted to essential only, and people from different households will be told not go on holiday with each other.
The advice will also be to not visit sporting venues, and people affected by restrictions should also avoid car-shares and transport at peak times.