Here is a round up of the latest regional and national news regarding as fight against coronavirus enters a new phase:

  • MEASURES being introduced in England over the coming days include:

– Asking office workers who can, to work from home, although construction workers, retail staff and people performing essential services should continue to attend their workplaces.

– From Thursday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be table-service only and hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues will be subject to a 10pm closing time. Takeaways will also close from 10pm to 5am, although they will be allowed to deliver.

– Face coverings will be required for taxi passengers from Wednesday and for retail staff and hospitality customers, except when sitting down eating or drinking, from Thursday.

– Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations for retail, leisure and tourism firms, with businesses facing the risk of fines or closure for failing to comply.

– From Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions.

– From Thursday, the rule of six will be extended to cover indoor team sports, such as five-a-side football.

– Plans to allow business conferences and crowds at sporting events from October 1 have been shelved.

  • A MAJOR medical trade union has warned the latest measures imposed by the Government to curb the spread of coronavirus do not go far enough to avoid a second peak. The British Medical Association (BMA) said it was “encouraging” that the Government is facing up to the accelerating transmission rate, but said more needs to be done. It criticised ministers for hurrying staff back to offices as infection rates were rising and for failing to make it mandatory for retail and hospitality staff to wear face coverings. Chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “The BMA has consistently argued that it was illogical for staff not to be required to wear facemasks in shops, pubs and restaurants as customers are, so we’re pleased to see this belatedly coming into force. However, given that the infection is equally like to spread in all indoor settings, these rules should also apply to offices and other workplaces.”
  • SPORTS clubs and associations in England are facing up to the bleak prospect of six further months without spectators after plans for a fans’ return in October were scrapped. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that the Government could not go ahead with the planned reopening of venues on a socially-distanced basis from October 1 due to a second wave of coronavirus infections. The plan would have seen venues capped at between 25 and 35 per cent of capacity. He suggested the measures introduced on Tuesday would remain in place for “perhaps six months”, making it almost certain that the sports sector will need some financial support from the Government to prevent an unprecedented loss of professional and grassroots clubs from the landscape.
  • SPORTS governing bodies held an emergency meeting with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden late on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the impact of the delay in spectators returning, and it is understood the talks will move at a fast pace and seek to identify where the help is most urgently and critically needed. The plight of EFL clubs has been well-documented, with its chairman Rick Parry stating they would lose a collective £200million if the entire 2020-21 season had to be played behind closed doors. Talks continue between the EFL and the Premier League over a rescue package, and it is understood the Government’s position remains that the English top flight should be the ones to provide financial aid to the EFL.
  • THE Rugby Football Union is seeking financial aid from the Government in response to being unable to host fans at Twickenham in the forthcoming Autumn Nations Cup or Six Nations. Chief executive Bill Sweeney has revealed that the absence of spectators will result in losses totalling £106million. He said: “From the outset we have been clear that an autumn without crowds would leave us with little choice but to approach the Government for financial help. Unfortunately, we are now in that position. Without support we are in danger of clubs at the heart of communities across England, as well as players and volunteers, disappearing forever.”
  • MOST people with coronavirus have symptoms, while asymptomatic cases may make up around 20% of infections, a new study suggests. Some people who contract Covid-19 never experience any symptoms, and there remains disagreement about what proportion of total infections these cases represent. The full spectrum and distribution of the severity of symptoms are still not well understood. Some infected people may experience severe infections resulting in viral pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, and death. While others remain completely asymptomatic or develop mild, nonspecific symptoms.
  • LONDON markets rebounded from their worst day for three months, despite the Prime Minister confirming a tightening of coronavirus restrictions. Markets opened strongly in the morning and finished higher, despite a slight retreat, with Boris Johnson providing no surprises for traders in his announcement to Parliament. The FTSE 100 closed 25.17 points lower at 5,829.46 at the end of trading on Tuesday.
  • CONCERNS student house parties could create concentrated coronavirus spikes in North-East communities already under local lockdown have been raised. Residents in densely populated areas of Durham are worried the return of 20,000 young people to the compact city could lead to a rise in the infection rate. There are fears young people may not heed warnings and continue to enjoy aspects of the traditional university lifestyle, such as drinking and socialising, which will inevitably spread the disease. Durham University is taking measures to make campuses ‘covid secure’, but community leaders have said people are worried about the influx of students into residential areas this month.
  • Enforcement action has been taken against three pubs after they failed to ensure a Covid-secure environment for the protection of staff and customers. South Tyneside Council has served directions to close Dougie’s Tavern in Blackett Street, Hebburn, Hebburn Sports and Social Club and The Bridge in Wenlock Road, South Shields. It comes after Environmental Health officers made several spot checks to the premises over recent weeks, where the pubs’ management were reminded of the rules around social distancing, received guidance on how to improve and effectively manage Covid security and updates on legislation.
  • THE sixth form of a Hartlepool school has been temporarily closed for a deep clean after three positive cases of covid. Years 12 and 13 at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College in Hartlepool has been temporarily closed for deep cleansing following three confirmed cases of coronavirus. Years 7 to 11 can head to class as normal as other year groups are not affected due to year group bubbles, meaning the rest of the school continues to operate.
  • A PRIMARY school in Thirsk has a confirmed case of Covid-19. The headteacher of Sowerby Primary Academy has sent letters to parents informing them that Public Health England has advised the school of a single positive Covid case. It says that a 'small number of children' who have had direct, prolonged contact with the Covid carrying person have been told to stay at home for 14-days. The school remains open and the situation will be continually monitored, the letter states.
  • A TUTOR group at an east Durham school has been asked to self-isolate after a student tested positive for coronavirus. A spokesperson for Seaham High School in Seaham confirmed that a Year 7 student had tested positive for the virus and they had been working with Public Health England
  • A FURTHER 579 people in the North-East and North Yorkshire have tested positive for Covid. In total, there have been 21,293 cases in the North-East and 44,147 across Yorkshire and The Humber since the outbreak began.
  • THE Government said that as of 9am on Tuesday, September 22, there had been a further 4,926 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. Overall, 403,551 cases have been confirmed nationally.
  • IT also said a further 37 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. This brings the UK death total to 41,825 according to Government statistics.
  • The local Covid infection rates are:

County Durham: 4,234 was 4,175

Darlington: 704 was 698

Gateshead: 1,889 was 1,853

Hartlepool: 828 was 802

Middlesbrough: 1,307 was 1,289

Newcastle: 2,539 was 2,420

North Tyneside: 1,352 was 1,318

North Yorkshire: 3,331 was 3,301

Northumberland: 2,102 was 2,040

Redcar and Cleveland: 871 was 866

South Tyneside: 1,563 was 1,500

Stockton: 1,243 was 1,219

Sunderland: 2,661 was 2,576

York: 1,147 was 1,135

Total: 25,771 was 25,192 - increase of 579