Shields Ferry reassures passengers after North Tyneside Indian covid variant row

Shields Ferry passengers have been reassured after concerns over travel between North and South Tyneside due to the spread of the Indian covid variant north of the river.

The Government had advised against all but essential travel in North Tyneside and seven other areas of England where the Indian Covid variant is spreading fastest.

Transport body Nexus issued a statement, which runs the ferry, therefore issued a statement early on Tuesday, May 25, advising passengers to only use the service for essential travel.

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However, after a row erupted over the advice from Government being issued without informing local leaders, the situation has changed.

Shields Ferry passengers are being urged to only use the service for essential travel .

The Shields Ferry posted on its Facebook page at 4pm on Tuesday, May 25: “The Director of Public Health at North Tyneside Council has clarified with Government this afternoon that there are no travel restrictions to and from the borough.

“Customers should still travel safely, plan ahead, wash hands, follow social distancing and wear a face covering unless exempt.

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“Metro and Ferry services continue to operate as normal for those who need to travel and people can have the confidence to use public transport as all modes are fully covid secure.

“Ferry services will continue to operate as normal for those who need to travel.”

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North Tyneside was identified last week as an area of concern for the new covid variant.

Enhanced testing and vaccination programmes were announced in Parliament on Wednesday, May 19.

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A row later erupted after the Government was found to have posted advice including to avoid travelling in and outside of North Tyneside and other areas listed.

But after a meeting Government representatives and other affected local authorities on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 25, it was clarified no travel restrictions were in place.