CARE homes in Darlington have been temporarily closed to visitors after an increase in Covid-19 cases in the town.

The announcement came ahead of so-called 'local lockdown' measures being imposed across many parts of the North East, including County Durham - but not in Darlington itself.

Darlington Borough Council's Cllr Kevin Nicholson said: "Our neighbouring authorities are seeing increases in cases and increases in local outbreaks, the picture in Darlington is less severe, however it is essential that we do everything we can to protect some of the most vulnerable in our community.

"It is for this reason that we have asked care providers to temporarily cease non-essential visiting to residents.

"Care homes have been informed and will contact residents’ families to advise them about new arrangements, including how to keep in touch with each other.

"We realise this news will be disappointing for both residents and their families and do understand the need for social contact but ensuring the health and safety of such a vulnerable sector of our population must remain a priority.

"We are monitoring the situation in those neighbouring areas and we will continue to keep the situation in Darlington under constant review.

"In the meantime, we must all do our bit to control the spread of the virus and keep Darlington on the right track."