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Source: City of Sunderland

They said: “Thanks to the collective efforts of everyone across the North East, we are continuing to see our infection rates level off and plateau. 

“Residents and businesses across our region have gone to extraordinary lengths to apply COVID-19 restrictions into their daily lives and have persevered with immense integrity and spirit throughout the pandemic. We want to thank them for everything they have done and are continuing to do to keep us all safe. 

“In our discussions with Government, they accepted that the measures we asked for in September have kept people safer, and helped us avoid the economically damaging restrictions put in place in other areas. We were quick to be proactive and we are seeing the impact of this approach.

“While the increase may have been curtailed, there is a long winter ahead. The rate of infection remains high and we must now ask everyone to redouble their efforts in order to look after themselves, their loved ones, protect more vulnerable residents and prevent hospital admissions escalating.

“We still believe that Tier 2, the ‘High’ COVID alert level, is the right level for our communities and continue to demonstrate to Government that this remains the case. We are also continuing to lobby for additional support for all those businesses doing their upmost to operate in a COVID-secure manner in these difficult times without the need to move to Tier 3. Recent announcements from the Chancellor have been welcome, but more must be done. We will carry on making the case for a more localised approach to test and trace, allowing us to capitalise on local expertise and knowledge of our communities, and work closely with the police to call for greater resource and support to enforce the guidance. 

“We do not want to see harsher restrictions imposed on our residents by Tier 3 and will resist any attempt by Government to do so. This would have an even greater impact on our economy and our wellbeing. But if we are to avoid this, we all need to continue working together. 

“The biggest source of transmission for the virus is in households. Mixing indoors with those outside your support bubble remains illegal and while we appreciate it is tough not being able to see loved ones, friends and neighbours, we must all do our bit to support our region through this pandemic. Our police forces are working flat out to engage with communities across our region and to advise and support people on following the restrictions. 

“Thank you to everybody for your efforts so far, and please continue to comply with the regulations and follow the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ public health guidance at all times.” 

Cllr Nick Forbes CBE, Leader of Newcastle City Council  

Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council  

Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council  

Norma Redfearn CBE, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Council  

Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council  

Cllr Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council  

Cllr Simon Henig, CBE, Leader of Durham County Council  

Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor  

Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner 

James Ramsbotham CBE, CEO of North East England Chamber of Commerce 

Lucy Winskell, Chair, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

MIL OSI United Kingdom