DARLINGTON'S MP has welcomed the latest lifting of coronavirus restrictions - but called for caution as cases continue to rise. 

From the mandatory use of face coverings to legal limits on social contact, almost every noticeable restriction was eased at midnight on July 19.

You do not need to stay two metres apart from people you do not live with and there are also no limits on the number of people you can meet.

However local leaders have urged caution among the public to help avoid another lockdown in the Autumn. 

Speaking to The Northern Echo on Monday, Peter Gibson MP said: "I welcome reaching step four in the roadmap. 

"The rollout of the vaccine has meant we can progress to this step. 

"We should proceed with caution and be mindful of our personal responsibility to ourselves and to others but I warmly welcome the chance to see friends and family and I know the people of Darlington will too."

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On mask-wearing, Mr Gibson said: “If official guidance indicates that mask wearing and social distancing can be dispensed with, I think the people of Darlington will welcome that, provided it is safe to do so. This surely has to be part of our vaccine dividend.”

The lifting of restrictions comes after the number of people being told to self-isolate by Test and Trace in Darlington reached its highest level in six months.

Department for Health and Social Care data shows 1,206 people were told to self-isolate after being in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to July 7, the latest data shows.

This is the highest number since January 20 – three weeks after the country was plunged into its third lockdown.

Contact tracers ask new patients to give details for anyone they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.

The figures show 1,351 people who came into close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in Darlington were transferred to Test and Trace in the week to July 7.

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