SADLY, it is no surprise that everywhere north of the Tees will go into Tier 3 on Wednesday. Although our infection numbers are falling, they are still largely above 300 per 100,000.

Our heart goes out to the hospitality sector and all the people who work in it. While old style drinking sessions are unlikely to return for a long time, gastro-pubs and restaurants have spent a lot of money redesigning their premises and creating table ordering systems. There is no evidence that these carefully controlled environments have been a source of infection and yet they stay closed while shops, some without such stringent arrangements, are still trading.

Boris Johnson talked about the five criteria for setting the tier levels, but rather than an obscure formula, people now need clarity. They need to understand exactly what level we have to achieve in order to escape so they can see that the sacrifices are worthwhile.

And Mr Johnson held Liverpool up as a beacon, so when can we expect mass testing by the army in Durham and the Tees Valley to drive down our levels?

Because, more than anything, we need hope that tier 3 is not our destiny until the vaccine kicks in.