Public health boss appeal to people considering breaking Northeast lockdown rules


“We can get out of this sooner if everyone is compliant.”This is the message from North East health chiefs to anyone considering ignoring the lockdown-style Covid restrictions that were imposed in the region on Friday.

The strict measures prohibit anyone in Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Sunderland or County Durham from socializing with people outside their home or social bubble in private homes and gardens – and advise against doing so in all public places.

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses were also hit by a 10 p.m. curfew and were asked to only operate table service.

The restrictions, imposed just hours after being confirmed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, angered many – the rules described as “contradictory” and “unclear”.

Many people wondered why they couldn’t see their family or friends, even outside, as political leaders across the region urged the government to reverse the decision to ban parents from helping with the family. child care.

Eugene Milne, director of public health for Newcastle City Council, urged those tempted to break the new rules to ‘think of others’.

Professor Milne said: “We are asking people to comply because segregating households in this way is the best possible way to reduce the spread of the virus at the moment.

“If we do it collectively, it makes it shorter for everyone. We can get out of it sooner if everyone is compliant.

“I would ask people to think of others as well as themselves.

“It may be absolutely true that you or I are relatively safe from this, but it’s not the same as the person we’re going to give it to, who is ten or two years older.

Director of Public Health at Newcastle City Council, Eugene Milne

In August, the northeast was reported to have the lowest Covid-19 infection rate in the country.

But cases in the region have increased rapidly over the past two weeks, with Sunderland, Gateshead, Newcastle and South Tyneside being of particular concern.

Leaders of the seven councils have chosen to call on the government to impose restrictions across the region to give them the best chance of reducing infection rates.

Professor Milne also urged people not to be swayed by the fact that the increase in cases here has yet to lead to a new spike in Covid-related deaths.

He added: “People tend to look at the numbers and say that we are living up to the levels that we were before but that we are not seeing deaths.

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“What people have to recognize is that when we identify cases in March and April, we only identify cases in people who were so sick that they were admitted to the hospital, that’s where the tests were taking place.

“Now we have a lot more tests, we are testing people who are much less likely to be admitted to the hospital, so we see a different part of the population, who was there before too but we just didn’t recognize it. not at the time.

“If we had gone back in March or April and had the number of tests available that we are currently doing, we would also have seen a wider spread among the population.

“The difference this time around is that we’ve put in place broader protection around nursing homes, for example, which allows us to bring them down to pre-pandemic risk levels – that’s what we’re seeing in terms of death in nursing homes.

“This means that we are cocooning this part of the population in order to protect them, but the real answer is to reduce the circulation of the virus so that we can give them the freedoms they deserve – to be visited and for the people who have it. are shielding doesn’t have to do that again. It is really about acting quickly.


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