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Coronavirus: Expected Restrictions in the North East of England



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North Angel Sculpture at Gateshead

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image captionGateshead is among the areas due to stricter local restrictions

Nearly two million people in north-east England are expected to face local restrictions as coronavirus cases increase.

Areas including Newcastle, Sunderland and County Durham will be subject to the new measures.

These are expected to include restrictions on mixing families and pubs that are ordered to close earlier.

Newcastle City Council Chairman Nick Forbes said it hoped the interim measures would prevent a “complete stalemate.”

BBC Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt

said Deputies from the area had previously met with Health Minister Nadine Dorries.

He said a Labor MP had told him the measures would include pubs that close at 22:00, “without mixing with other families” and public transport reserved only for “essential trips”.

A full announcement detailing the measures is expected Thursday.

On Monday councils in seven areas – Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland – called for new restrictions.

The leader of the council, Mr. Forbes said in a series of tweets the area was not headed for “blockage” and the measures were about “restoring social distance where evidence says it is slipping”.
The North East has seen a coronavirus resurgence in recent weeks and four neighborhoods were placed on the government watch list last week for areas in need of “extended support”.

The BBC analysis of government figures shows that as of Wednesday, Bolton had the highest rate in England at 204.1 per 100,000 people in the week of 13 September.

The Sunderland rate was 82.1 per 100,000 people, South Tyneside was 93.4, Gateshead was 81.7, Newcastle was 64.1, North Tyneside was 46.7, with County Durham at 37.4 and Northumberland at 25.7.

In total there were 1,106 new cases in a seven-day period.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Welfare said: “We are constantly monitoring infection levels across the country and keeping all measures under consideration in consultation with local leaders.

“Any changes to local restrictions will be announced in the usual way.”

Other parts of the UK, including Birmingham and Greater Manchester, are already subject to increased masses.

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson told a committee of MPs that the second national blockade would be potentially “catastrophic” for the UK.

He admitted that he did not have enough testing capacity – mid widespread reports of difficulties in obtaining them – and said new nationwide restrictions such as the “sixth rule” were needed to “defeat” the disease.
Coronavirus cases across the UK increased by 3,991, bringing the total to 378,219, according to figures from the government.

Analysis – Daniel Wainwright, BBC Data Unit in England

While parts of the north west of England have consistently had the highest levels of new infections for some time now, the North East areas have also reported large increases.

In the week to August 30, Sunderland had 24 cases. Two weeks later it was 228.

The increase in South Tyneside was also very large, from 70 cases in the last week of August to 141 in the week to 13 September.

Parts of the region are recording rates they have not seen since May, when the country was still subject to most full-blown measures.

Testing capacity has increased since then but there have been shortages due to recent increase in demand.

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