HERE is a round-up of some of the main coronavirus talking points of the last 24-hours.

  • The next two weeks will be “absolutely crucial” in ensuring that England’s coronavirus lockdown ends as planned on December 2, a Government scientific adviser has warned. Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), urged the public to resist breaking current rules, to “be in a position” to spend the festive period with loved ones. She also suggested that the announcement of a potential Covid-19 vaccine could lead to complacency with the measures, adding that the jab will make “no difference” to the current wave. It comes after documents released by Sage on Friday warned that a return to the tiered system of coronavirus restrictions will see infections rise again.
  • Over 300 North-East people think they had Covid last year as hospitals recorded spikes in admissions for respiratory conditions. All but two of the region’s hospital trusts – Gateshead, Northumbria, South Tees, Newcastle Upon Tyne, York and Harrogate and District – admitted more people for respiratory conditions in December 2019 than any other month in the past three years. South Tyneside and Sunderland Trust's data only goes back to March 2019. Only County Durham and Darlington and North Tees and Hartlepool trusts did not see record-high respiratory admissions.
  • There have been 24 Covid deaths recorded by hospitals across our part of the North-East in the last week. The figures, released by NHS England today, cover the last seven days from November 6 to November 13. In that period, a total of five people have died at hospitals within the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Five have died at Gateshead hospitals in the last week and five deaths were also recorded at Newcastle and Tyneside hospitals. There have been two Covid deaths recorded at North Tees and Hartlepool hospitals and five at the South Tees NHS Trust hospitals. There has been one Covid death reported at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust and one at York Teaching NHS Trust in the last week. The NHS figures say that across the whole of the North-East and Yorkshire region, there have been 79 Covid deaths recorded in hospitals in the period from November 6 to November 13. According to the case figures published by the Government this afternoon, there have been 81,493 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the North-East since the start of the pandemic.
  • The latest Government figures say there have been a total of 2,916 recorded Covid deaths in the North-East region. Nationally, the Government said a further 462 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 51,766. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 67,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK. The Government said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 26,860 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,344,356.