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New lockdown restrictions are being implemented across different parts of the country to contend with rising rates of coronavirus as part of the Government’s localised lockdowns plan. The North East region of England has the third-highest rate per 100,000 population prompting concern and the introduction of new rules. But what are the new rules?
The new rules come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said actions must be taken across the country to “protect” Christmas.
Mr Johnson told The Sun: “Christmas we want to protect, and we want everyone to have a fantastic Christmas.
“But the only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now.
“So if we can grip it now, stop the surge, arrest the spike, stop the second hump of the dromedary, flatten the second hump.”
Around two million northeasterners will be subject to new restrictions as cases of the deadly coronavirus continue to rise.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will confirm the measures in a statement at the House of Commons today (Thursday, September 17) after the Government meets with North East councils and local MPs.
The North East has confirmed 18,963 cases of coronavirus according to the Government coronavirus dashboard.
This equates to a rate of 710.2 per 100,000 people.
This places the North East third behind:
- The North West: 63,376 cases and a rate of 863.3 per 100,000 people
- Yorkshire and The Humber: 41,257 cases and a rate of 749.7 per 100,000 people.
What are the rules?
Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham council areas are expected to see new rules implemented.
The rules will most likely include:
- Curfews for bars and pubs of 10pm
- A ban on people mixing with others outside their household
- Table service only in bars and pubs
- Delivery service only for takeaways after 10pm
- Restrictions on major events.
- These new rules are expected to come into effect from midnight.
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According to the Government’s coronavirus dashboard, the coronavirus infection rate per 100,000 in the seven areas facing new restrictions are:
- Sunderland: 2,319 cases – 835.1 per 100,000
- South Tyneside: 1,293 cases – 856.4 per 100,000
- Gateshead: 1,676 cases – 829.5 per 100,000
- Newcastle: 2,085 cases – 688.5 per 100,000
- North Tyneside: 1,168 cases – 561.8 per 100,000
- County Durham: 3,928 cases – 741 per 100,000
- Northumberland: 1,851 cases – 574.1 per 100,000.
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said his team had sent proposals to the Department of Health for pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm and for people to be banned from socialising outside their bubble.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We know from the tracing that we’re doing, that the three main areas where we’re seeing the spread of the virus at the moment are in pubs and bars, in people’s homes….and in grassroots sports.
“So in pubs and restaurants, we’ve asked for a 10pm curfew or 10pm closure of all pubs and restaurants.
“And we’ve also asked for table service only to prevent people congregating and standing around bar areas. It’s much easier for people to maintain social distancing if it’s seating only.
“We’ve asked for people to only have contact between households if they’re in a social bubble, and for people not to make contact with people outside of their own households or their own social bubble.”
However, Mr Forbes outlined one extension will be for extended family members who provide childcare.
Mr Forbes said people needed to understand that “if we don’t get on top of this now, it’s going to get out of control”.
On Thursday, health minister Edward Argar announced the North East was seeing a spike in cases similar to that in northwest England.
He 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.”
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