No plans for North East Tier 3 Move, However, Warning that Decision Rests with Ministers.
The claims come after leaders were sent a two-line email that threatened to plunge the lives of millions into chaos. However, it comes with a caveat that the decision would be made by MPs who could act independently of advice from scientific experts.
The region was left reeling on Friday after leaders received an eleventh-hour message from the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government told council leaders that a meeting would be arranged ‘ASAP’ to discuss a potential move from Tier 2 into the tightest of restrictions.
A separate meeting that had been scheduled for Friday morning was cancelled, while the region’s public health directors did hold discussions on Friday lunchtime with England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.
Talks are set to take place on Monday which could see the region upgraded.
However, an insider has revealed that there remains no plan to move the region into the tightest measures along with South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Liverpool.
The source said: “There are no plans to move us. We’ve made the case on data coming down and have been told by scientists that we are a Tier 2 success story. Locally we have said why move to Tier 3 when there remains little evidence that cases are being spread in pubs, especially now with 10pm closing and no household mixing. But that decision rests with ministers.”
Last week, the North East was given a reprieve to prove that current local lockdown measures are doing enough to control the spread of the virus.
And those Tier 2 measures will now remain in place until next week at least, but it is thought that a move up to Tier 3 is possible – even if Covid cases in the region keep falling.
Infection rates are falling in almost every part of the region according to the latest Public Health England data – with a slight rise only reported in Northumberland, which has by far the lowest infection rate in the region.