ALL 12 local authorities in the North East and Tees Valley will be added to the list of areas receiving an enhanced response package due to the high prevalence of Covid cases.

The Government has confirmed the entire region has been identified as an Enhanced Response Area (ERA) and will receive additional support from Monday in a bid to lower the number of cases. 

Extra measures could include targeted testing, support with the vaccine rollout, support conducting ‘door to door’ testing and approval to recommend additional interventions in schools. 

Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for Health and Housing Kevin Nicholson said: “Although Darlington’s overall cases remain the lowest in the region, including our all-time per 100k rate being the third lowest in the region behind North Tyneside and Northumberland, we accept that we have to act collectively and take into consideration the range and peaks of the current wave. 

“Cases are continuing to rise sharply across the Tees Valley and our response must reflect the potential risk to all our communities.

“Being included as an Enhanced Response Area does not mean that we are going back into a lockdown situation, but it does mean we will have enhanced monitoring and additional support in place. 

READ MORE: 114 North East postcodes see fall in number of new Covid cases

The Northern Echo:

“We are assured that it will a be a short-term measure – areas will automatically roll off after five weeks, although a review will be conducted at week four to determine whether this is appropriate.

“To avoid staying as an Enhanced Response Area, we must work together to ensure that Darlington’s cases do not continue to rise over the next five weeks. We must all urge our residents to get both doses of the vaccine as soon as they can, as well as take up regular testing and to follow self-isolation guidance as required.”

“As a council, we have already conducted over 30,000 community tests in our recording breaking community testing scheme, and we have since given out over 32,000 individual tests via our click and collect service for residents to do at home.

“I am confident that we are doing a significant amount of work currently to increase vaccine uptake and to advise people on how to keep safe."

The Northern Echo:

Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, urged all residents to get vaccinated. 

He said: "As the Prime Minister has said, we want the whole country to move out of and remain out of these restrictions together. 

"We are trusting people to be responsible and to act with caution and common sense, as they have done throughout this pandemic, and to make decisions about how best to protect themselves and their loved ones, informed by the risks. 

"So many Teessiders have been vaccinated. If you haven't, now is the time.

"It is only thanks to your efforts, the residents of Teesside, that we will be able to stop the spread and protect the people we love."

A statement the LA7 group of local council leaders said: "Covid-19 restrictions may have been lifted, but from Monday the whole North East will receive additional government support as an Enhanced Response Area following a steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the area, serving as a sobering reminder that we all still have a responsibility to make sure we continue to do our bit.

"The last 18 months have tested all of us, and we are grateful to everybody for your immense efforts in helping to protect your friends, families, and others from the virus.

"While restrictions have now eased we must remember that the virus is still with us and cases continue to rise and councils, the NHS and other public services are under pressure.

"We must all continue to be cautious as we take the next step on the roadmap and carry on looking out for one another, not least our frontline workers who we all rely on.

"That is why we are continuing to ask people to help keep the North East open and to protect others.

"Our best defence against the virus is still the vaccines, and the NHS, health partners, local authorities and countless volunteers have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure they are accessible to all. Getting a vaccine will mean you are less likely to become ill, and have less chance of spreading the virus to others who may be more vulnerable than you are.

"The evidence is indisputable - vaccination works and has hugely reduced the risk of serious illness. The vast majority of cases are in those yet to be vaccinated and those who get Covid who have been double-jabbed are generally showing mild, if any symptoms.

"Please make sure you get both doses. You can book appointments now at or attend your nearest walk-in centre.  It is the most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

"We are pleased to see that, despite the lifting of requirements, the majority of people continue to wear a face covering in busy indoor spaces and on public transport, because we know they are effective at providing protection.

"Continue to wash your hands regularly and meet others outdoors where you can, because we know these steps help to prevent the spread of the virus. And we should all be mindful that people have different views and be kind to each other, especially to those who may feel anxious about the easing of restrictions.

"As we to learn to live with the virus, we must do so as safely as possible. If we throw caution to the wind now, NHS services may face another surge in pressures, already-stretched council services will be further pushed to the limit, and the virus will be able to do more damage to our communities which have already suffered so much.

"With fewer restrictions on our lives, it is also vital that we don't forget about the importance of testing as the virus continues to spread through our villages, towns and cities.

"Widely-available Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) that you can take at home will help identify if you have the virus without realising so you can self-isolate to ensure you don't pass it on further. And PCR tests will continue to be available for those with symptoms and people confirming a positive LFT result.

"Where required, you will still need to self-isolate to help stop onward transmission.

"Together we have achieved so much during the pandemic and we thank you for your continued support. Let's carry on being careful to make sure these collective efforts are not wasted in the weeks and months to come.

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