TWO more North-East areas will be placed under local lockdown-style restrictions following a "fast" rise in the number of Covid-19 cases there, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

Lockdown restrictions will be imposed in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, preventing people from other households from mixing in 'any' indoor setting, including in pubs, restaurants and bars.

They will come into force at 0.01 on Saturday, October 3. 

In a statement, Matt Hancock told the Commons: “Earlier this week we brought in further measures in the North-East, however in parts of Teesside and the North-West of England cases continue to rise fast.

“In Liverpool, the number of cases is 268 per 100,000 population, so together we need to act. Working with council leaders and the mayors, I’m today extending these measures that have been in the North East since the start of this week to the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

The Northern Echo:

Health Secretary Matt Hancock Picture: PA

“We will provide £7m to local authorities in these areas to support them with their vital work.”

For the past two weeks, County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside and Northumberland have been placed under local lockdown.

Earlier this week, it became illegal in these areas to meet up with other households in any indoor settings, including in pubs, restaurants and bars with fines for breaches starting at £200.

In the Commons today, Mr Hancock said the rules would be the same as those announced earlier in the week for the region.

He told the Commons: “We recommend against all social-mixing between people in different households.

“We will bring in regulations, as we have in the North-East, to prevent in law social mixing between people in different households in all settings except outdoor public spaces like parks and outdoor hospitality.

“We also recommend that people should not attend professional or amateur sporting events as spectators in the areas that are affected.

“We recommend that people only visit care homes in exceptional circumstances and there will be guidance against all but essential travel. Essential travel, of course, includes going to work or school.”

Matt Hancock said that the more people follow the rules, the quicker Liverpool and the North-East can get back on their feet.

He told the Commons: “I understand how much of an imposition this is. I want rules like this to stay in place for as short a time as possible, I’m sure we all do.

“The study published today shows us hope that together we can crack this and the more people follow the rules and reduce their social contact, the quicker we can get Liverpool and the North-East back on their feet.”

  • The Northern Echo will be bringing you reaction and coverage from the announcement throughout today.