North East leaders urge people to help prevent further covid outbreaks over bank holiday weekend as concerns hang over Indian variant
North East health bosses have urged people to do their bit to prevent further Covid-19 outbreaks over the bank holiday weekend.
With sunshine and warm weather forecast over the weekend, residents are being warned to “proceed with caution” and meet up with friends and family outdoors or at Covid-secure venues – particularly with multiple areas reporting cases of the fast-spreading Indian variant of the virus.
This week brought controversy and confusion over travel guidance to and from North Tyneside, which was one of eight areas listed by the Government as places that people should avoid all non-essential travel in or out of.
It was finally confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the borough is not subject to any formal movement restrictions or a new local lockdown, though the government still advises ‘minimising’ travel in and out.
At least 40 cases of the Indian variant have been reported in North Tyneside and smaller numbers have also been confirmed in Newcastle and, most recently, Sunderland.
Public health officials from North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle, Northumberland,and County Durham councils issued a statement warning “the virus is still with us and is still a threat to ourselves and our loved ones”.
They said: “We are all aware of the headlines in our region this week with Covid-19-related advice that was issued regarding travel in and out of North Tyneside. Several of our communities have had confirmed cases of the variant of concern of the virus, known as the Indian variant, and for North Tyneside this has resulted in enhanced testing and extra vaccination services being available.
“While it has since been clarified that there are no formal restrictions on travel anywhere in our region, we should all continue to proceed with caution to protect our communities, wherever we live.
“We should all use our judgement and take sensible public health precautions when going about our daily lives, particularly when mixing indoors.
“Our communities are closely linked and what happens in one area has repercussions for people across the region. Many of us cross boundaries for work or school, to support vulnerable friends and relatives, and to enjoy the many beauty spots that make the North East the place we love to call home.
“That is why we are asking people across the region to take the same approach.”