THE Government has been accused of causing “unnecessary panic” over new guidance telling people not to travel in and out of North Tyneside.
It emerged on Monday night that the borough was one of eight council areas in England which should be avoided “unless it is essential” due to outbreaks of the fast-spreading Indian strain of Covid-19.
But local officials were left stunned by the guidance, which it appears was published online last Friday night without any official announcement being made.
North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon said that she, public health officials, and council bosses were “completely in the dark”.
The Labour MP said: “Since we were told about the variant, the council has been working to get the test sites set up, they are working with GPs to try and get people who have not yet been vaccinated to come forward.
“They are doing everything they possibly can and now they get this dropped on them without any warning.
“The Government seems to have no coordination on Covid at times.
“North Tyneside is always on the ball and doing what we need to do, but we need to be kept up to speed.
“This is very disappointing. It causes unnecessary panic and concern when people do not have the facts.”
And business leaders have called for “urgent clarity” over the rules.
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses and people in North Tyneside need urgent clarity on rules and guidance for their area.
“It is completely unacceptable to have such poor communications about something so important for people’s health and livelihoods.
“Government needs to set out what the rules are at present and provide support for businesses if official guidance significantly reduces their demand.”
Mrs Glindon added that the Government had been “negligent towards the local authorities” by not informing them.
North Tyneside public health director Wendy Burke said on Monday afternoon that it was “certainly okay to visit the area”, clearly unaware of the Government’s stricter advice.