Here are the latest updates from the last 24 hours

  • The North-East remains in Tier 2 – for now. Yesterday, North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll confirmed that seven local authorities in the region had avoided being placed under Tier 3 restrictions. Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen confirmed the same decision had been made for Darlington, Teesside and Hartlepool. Members of the public have been called to “step up” their efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Mr Houchen said: “None of us want to spend a day longer than is absolutely necessary under these new restrictions, but what we are doing is working, and it would be such a tragedy to waste all our hard work and all the sacrifices we have made so far.”
  • Five venues in County Durham have been told to close after failing to abide by the latest coronavirus restrictions. Le Raaj at Chester Moor, The Glendenning Arms at Witton Gilbert, The Cherry Tree at Ouston, Peterlee Labour Club and Bishop Sports Bar in Bishop Auckland have all been told to close for at least seven days. Durham County Council’s community protection team are warning other businesses to comply with restrictions or face punishments. Joanne Waller, head of community protection services, said: “It is incredibly disappointing to see an increase in the number of venues failing to abide by the latest restrictions as the weeks go on. These measures apply to everyone and by complying with them we can help to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.”
  • A further 1,368 people have tested positive for Covid in the North-East and North Yorkshire in the last 24 hours. A further 12 people in the region are reported to have died with the virus in hospitals. There have been 82 deaths reported in hospitals in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 30,825. In the North-East, three deaths were recorded at County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust while four were recorded at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, South Tees Hospitals NHS NHS Foundation Trust, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust all recorded one death.
  • Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was putting pressure on leaders in Greater Manchester to increase the covid alert level and take further action. The Prime Minister said the situation in Greater Manchester was “grave” as he pressured Mayor Andy Burnham to agree to new rules, adding that time was “of the essence”. Yesterday, Lancashire became the second area to be placed under Tier 3 restrictions.
  • The UK is developing the capacity to manufacture millions of fast turnaround tests for coronavirus which could deliver results in just 15 minutes, Boris Johnson has said. Downing Street has also announced that further pilots of new testing technologies will begin from next week, across some of the UK’s worst affected regions. Mr Johnson told a No 10 press conference on Friday that the new tests were “faster, simpler and cheaper” and that work was being done to ensure they could be manufactured and distributed in the UK.
  • An urgent circuit-breaker which would see secondary schools and colleges in England closed for two weeks at half-term is urgently needed to suppress Covid-19 cases, Britain’s largest teachers’ union has said. The National Education Union (NEU) said such a move could allow the Government to “get in control of the test, track and trace system and get cases lower, to allow the system to work better”.