Here are the latest regional and national updates on the Covid-19 crisis:

  • THE Tees Valley is now getting enhanced support to tackle the spread of coronavirus amid rising infection rates. Meanwhile, residents have been urged not to mix with other household in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland and Hartlepool have been added to the Government's list of places which are getting enhanced support. It means there are no additional "local lockdown" restrictions in place but there is increased national support, additional resources and extra testing. People are not banned from visiting other people's homes but council leaders in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland have issued statements encouraging residents to limit contact. County Durham, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Sunderland, North Tyneside and Northumberland remain as areas of intervention.
  • TESCO has reintroduced purchasing limits for popular products such as toilet rolls, pasta and flour to prevent its shelves becoming bare. The supermarket giant said on Friday that a number of products will be restricted to three items per customer, in a repeat of rationing seen at the start of the pandemic. Flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes will have purchasing limits in stores, it said. Tesco has also introduced additional limits for some products online, including rice and canned vegetables. Rival supermarket Morrisons became the first big grocer to bring back rationing on Thursday, announcing purchasing limits on a raft of cleaning products.
  • A SECONDARY school has closed to a second of its year groups following a confirmed case of coronavirus. Longfield Academy, in Darlington, has advised Year 9 pupils to stay at home and self-isolate until Monday, October 5. This follows a positive test result to a pupil in Year 8, earlier this month, with the whole year group being sent home to isolate until Monday, September 28.
  • FIFTEEN residents and six staff members at a Gateshead care home have tested positive for Covid-19, it has been confirmed. None of those who were diagnosed positive at Armstrong House care home, on Lobley Hill Road, in Bensham, showed any symptoms of the virus and are now self isolating. Care UK, who operate the home, say their team was following full infection control procedures in line with guidance from Public Health England.
  • TOWNS and cities in north-west England, West Yorkshire and Wales will be the latest to face new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus. Leeds in West Yorkshire, Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, and Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool in Lancashire will have local lockdowns enforced from Saturday. Wales’s two largest cities, Cardiff and Swansea, will follow suit the following day. London has also been highlighted as an area of concern, and Teesside as an area of enhanced support by the Department of Health and Social Care.
  • MANCHESTER Metropolitan University students at two accommodation sites in the city have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in coronavirus cases. The immediate measures have been introduced at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls after 127 students tested positive. Dr Yasmin Ahmed-Little, consultant in health protection at Public Health England North West, said: “We have seen an increase in positive cases and students with symptoms in the university, and all students in these accommodation blocks are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days – even if they have no symptoms – to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
  • BIRMINGHAM City Council is hoping to use military personnel to provide extra capacity for its door-to-door coronavirus testing service. As the latest figures showed a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the city over the past five days, the council’s deputy leader Brigid Jones said 500 council staff had been redeployed to its “drop-and-collect” testing service. Ms Jones told a meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority on Friday that the initiative involved going door to door in high-risk areas offering testing kits to those with or without symptoms.
  • FORCING students to stay “cooped up” in their halls over Christmas if there are coronavirus outbreaks is “impractical” and could lead to mental health problems, a university vice-chancellor has said. A Government scientific adviser has suggested that students may have to stay in their university accommodation when term ends to ensure the infection does not spread to their older relatives. But Professor Colin Riordan, president and vice-chancellor at Cardiff University, has warned that it would be “extremely difficult” to handle the situation and would cause “an awful lot of stress”.
  • THE R number across the UK is between 1.2 and 1.5 and the Covid-19 epidemic is growing, scientists have said. Experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) estimated the reproduction value – the number of people an infected person will pass the virus on to – was up on the 1.1 to 1.4 it reported in the previous week. Sage estimates the number of new infections is growing by between 4% and 8% every day. All regions of England have an R that is higher than one and all have positive growth rates.
  • CAMPAIGNERS staged a protest outside a Government department on Friday demanding that local public health teams are put in charge of the Test and Trace virus system. The We Own It campaign group said its research showed that the public did not want private companies to be in charge of the testing, preferring the public sector to be in charge. Speaking outside the Department of Health and Social Care in London, campaigner Pascale Robinson said: “This week, Boris Johnson has introduced tighter restrictions in an attempt to get a handle on the recent spike in Covid cases, but sadly, his response is falling well short of what’s needed to get out of this crisis safely.
  • DAILY hospital admissions in England are at their highest in more than three months as coronavirus cases across the UK continue to rise, according to Government data. As of 9am on Friday, there had been a further 6,874 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, the highest single-day figure of recorded coronavirus cases and taking the overall number of cases confirmed to 423,236. It is the second consecutive day of the highest recorded case number. The climbing case rates come as a further 314 people with Covid-19 were admitted to hospital on Wednesday in England. This is the first time that more than 300 patients have been admitted with the illness in England since June 22, and a rise of more than 45 on the previous day, when 268 were admitted.
  • A FURTHER 664 people have tested positive for Covid in the North-East and North Yorkshire. The Government also said a further 34 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday. This brings the UK total to 41,936. But Friday’s daily figure did not include deaths in Scotland, with a message on the dashboard reading: “Due to a power outage at National Records of Scotland we have not been able to update the deaths figures for Scotland.” Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 57,600 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. The Government said that as of 9am on Friday, there had been a further 6,874 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, taking the overall number of cases confirmed to 423,236.
  • Here is a breakdown of the latest confirmed cases in the North-East and North Yorkshire:

County Durham: 4,478 was 4,397, an increase of 81

Darlington: 733 was 726, an increase of 7

Gateshead: 2,047 was 2,003, an increase of 44

Hartlepool: 876 was 863, an increase of 13

Middlesbrough: 1,372 was 1,357, an increase of 15

Newcastle: 2,889 was 2,770, an increase of 119

North Tyneside: 1,488 was 1,440, an increase of 48

North Yorkshire: 3,505 was 3,441, an increase of 64

Northumberland: 2,331 was 2,247, an increase of 84

Redcar and Cleveland: 909 was 899, an increase of 10

South Tyneside: 1,709 was 1,656, an increase of 53

Stockton: 1,310 was 1,282, an increase of 28

Sunderland: 2,917 was 2,843, an increase of 74

York: 1,209 was 1,185, an increase of 24

Total increase of 664 cases