The further restrictions for Middlesbrough and Hartlepool announced today are sadly inevitable. I’ve said before that no one welcomes further restrictions, but we on Teesside sit next to seven neighbouring north east local authorities where tighter restrictions have been imposed for some time now because of worryingly high rates of Covid19.

It’s only 13 miles from Middlesbrough to Sedgefield in County Durham and the virus is clearly in circulation right across the NE region at levels that are concerning and the virus pays no heed to the local authority borders between County Durham and the Tees Valley local authority areas.

Middlesbrough rates are consistently above 100 cases per 100,000- albeit a welcome but slight reduction in the last 24 hours – and sadly the tighter restrictions around household mixing are necessary as the data is telling us that people mixing across households is the root of the increases we’ve been seeing.

Of course, I am worried about how long these restrictions might go on for. But the sooner we take action to suppress the virus in our area, the better chance we have of seeing the rates drop and consequently an earlier relaxation of the restrictions.

People are understandably concerned about the availability of tests and the system is sadly still far from running fully and efficiently which only serves to reinforce the need for us all to do everything in our power to stop the further spread of the virus.

So, I’m afraid – as well as the restrictions on households mixing and the rule of six – it is the same as ever: Hands, Face and Space. We will come out of this in better shape if all strive to keep to the rules.

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