THE December 16 review of which tier restrictions apply to various areas is almost as big a date as our looming Brexit, with or without a deal, on January 1.

All areas of the North-East have made big strides, and sacrifices, over the last couple of weeks, and infection rates in most places have dropped and are now hovering at just under 200 cases per 100,000 of the population.

Other parts of the country have not seen this fall.

However, our problem seems to be the word “hovering” – rates are not plummeting – and now one of our experts says it is “probably” we shall remain in Tier 3.

This is disappointing and for many businesses that are forced to remain shut, it is life threatening.

If that’s the scientific advice then most people will grudgingly accept it. But if we are forced to remain in Tier 3 on December 16 because our infection levels have not dropped enough, is it really wise for the Government to remove all restrictions a week later so we can have five days of merriness at Christmas?