Political leaders in the Northeast are calling for caution, as coronavirus cases in South Tyneside nearly doubled in a week, giving it the highest infection rate in the country.
The district recorded 1,359 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the seven days to July 8 – the previous week the rate was 691. Eight regions in the North East are now among the 10 worst affected regions in England .
Hospital visits in South Tyneside and Sunderland have been suspended as the number of covid patients in NHS Trust hospitals stands at 80, up from two a month ago.
Dr George Rae, president of the North East British Medical Association, said wearing masks should remain legal for public transport, pubs and shops.
And a joint statement from leaders representing Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and Durham urges people to be careful as restrictions are lifted on July 19.
The statement reads: “The restrictions to which we have become accustomed are about to be lifted, but we are not coming back to life as we knew it. We will need to continue working together to continue saving lives and protecting our communities. “
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