A NORTH-EAST council has explained why the Covid infection rate has continued to climb across County Durham as we enter the third week of national lockdown.

Amanda Healy, Director of Public Health at Durham County Council, made the comments as she renewed her warnings for residents to adhere to the rules.

Earlier this week it was revealed that almost every part of the North-East and North Yorkshire had seen a rise in the number of new Covid cases in the past week.

Latest Public Health England data, published on November 16, showed 13 out of 14 council areas had reported an upwards trend.

SEE MORE: Almost EVERY part of North-East and North Yorkshire has seen rise in Covid cases in past week

It showed that in the seven days leading to November 11, County Durham had seen a 25.2 per cent rise in cases, with 2,185 reported in the past week.

The Northern Echo:

The Covid 'hotspots' across County Durham Picture: PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND

Last night, Ms Healy said that a rise in Covid infections had been spurred on by the volume of people in towns and city centres across the country in the days before the national lockdown.

But Ms Healy said she expects to see cases start to reduce following national lockdown rules, which were introduced on November 5.

She said: “We’d like to thank everyone for the lengths they have gone to in trying to minimise the spread of coronavirus, particularly during this latest period of national restrictions which we appreciate have made life harder for us all.

'High footfall in towns and cities'

“In the days leading up to the restrictions coming into force, the level of footfall in towns and city centres across the country was high.

“As in all parts of the country, this led to higher rates of infection across County Durham but the introduction of lockdown should mean we start to see these reduce.

“We would appeal to everyone to play their part in stopping transmission of the virus by reducing social contacts and following the simple rules of Hands, Face, Space.

“Stay at home and avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.

“It is vital that everyone follows the steps we can all take; such as regular and thorough hand washing, observing social distancing rules and wearing face coverings when required.

“It is also important that anyone with symptoms - a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss of taste or smell, self-isolates and gets tested as soon as possible."

Ms Healy urged those not working from home to continue to comply with all Covid secure measures in the workplace.

She said: “Think twice about stopping for a chat in the staff room or having a quick coffee with a colleague on your break, if you do, remember even at those moments to stay two metres apart."

'Follow the measures to avoid coming out into a worse position'

“Please try to stay close to home when exercising and only exercise with your household and one other person from another household outdoors.

“Do all you can to help and support the mental and physical wellbeing of yourself, your loved ones, your friends, your community and particularly those residents who are most at risk.

SEE MORE: Fresh warnings to stick to rules after Covid increase in almost every part of North-East 

Ms Healy added that it was vitally important to continue adhering to the rules to avoid the the county being placed into tougher lockdown measures, once the national lockdown ends.

“It is important that we all follow these measures to help County Durham and the wider North-East if we are to avoid coming out of the current national restrictions in a worse position than when we entered lockdown," she added.