New Covid Restrictions

The Government have just formally announced new Covid-19 restrictions for the North East to combat a worrying rise in the number of cases in our region.

The measures will come into force at midnight tonight and include the following:

  • residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens
  • hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
  • late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm to 5am

Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:

  • not to socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues.
  • only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  • take holidays only within your own household or support bubble
  • avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

You can read the full announcement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/stronger-measures-introduced-in-parts-of-the-north-east-to-tackle-rising-infection-rates

 

People have made huge sacrifices during lockdown to help get the virus under control and protect the NHS and no one wants to see a repeat of that.

It’s important that we all obey the new rules and do our bit to keep the cases of the virus down and prevent a new lockdown.

If we don’t, we risk more people getting unwell and tougher restrictions down the line.

I do however have concerns about some aspects of what the government is doing.

 

Informal Childcare

In the House of Commons this afternoon I’ve questioned the Health Secretary on why, unlike in Scotland and Wales, children in England are included in the rule of six. It prevents many families accessing informal childcare when they need to go to work. You can watch my question and the Minister’s response in the video below.

Supporting communities and businesses

Regional Labour MPs have also written to the Health Secretary to request urgent clarification on a number of key issues including testing capacity in our area, financial support for businesses and the workforce affected by these measures, and support for local councils to help get the infection rate down. Read the letter

 

Testing

I understand there are many concerns about the availability of testing too and this is something I am pressing the government to act on. The Prime Minister has admitted we do not have sufficient testing capacity and that is simply not good enough. Without proper testing, we can’t effectively do track and trace and the virus could soon spiral out of control again. We’re doing our bit locally and I’m calling on the Government to do their duty too and get this right.

 

If you need help:

It continues to be a difficult time for many people and these restrictions may make those challenge worse for some. My office remains on hand to help and offer guidance and support so please do not hesitate to get in touch: [email protected]. We are receiving a large number of queries and are dealing with them all as quickly as possible.

There are also other organisations who you may find it useful to contact:

Newcastle CityLife: https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/public-health-wellbeing-and-leisure/public-health-services/coronavirus-covid-19/citylife

Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/crisis-services/helplines-listening-services/