Local lockdown-style restrictions are set to be announced for the North East.
Across the region, there has been a worrying increase in coronavirus cases with some areas being put on Government watch lists.
No official announcement has been made about the plans, and nothing will be confirmed until a statement is issued by the Department for Health and Social Care.
Here is everything we know so far:
When will this be announced?
ChronicleLive understands that there will be an announcement today (Thursday) but that measures will come into force just after midnight on Friday morning – September 18, in a bid to reverse a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases across the region.
Where will be affected?
Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland are all expected to be included.
What restrictions will be in place?
ChronicleLive understands the restrictions will include a ban on socialising with anyone outside your household, whether in a private home or garden, in a public space such as a park, or in a venue such as a pub or restaurant.
A household only includes the people who you live with. Even close relatives count as a different household if they live in a different property.
Pubs and other licensed premises will remain open, but guests will only be allowed to socialise with people from their own households, and they will have to close by 10pm.
The restrictions are designed to avoid a full local lockdown. ChronicleLive understands that restrictions expected to be announced, but not yet confirmed, include:
People will be told not to go on holiday with people from different households
Care home visits will be restricted to essential visitors only
Residents will be advised to avoid public transport at peak times except for essential journeys, and to avoid car-shares
- Spectators will be advised not to attend sporting venues
What has already been said?
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told ITV’s Peston on Wednesday: “The number of cases has been rising rapidly in many parts of the country, but in particular in the North East, and so a decision has been made to impose further restrictions there.
“And a full announcement will be made tomorrow and so people living in that part of the country should watch out for that.”
The seven local authorities in the area have been pushing the Department for Health to allow them to introduce local restrictions, in order to control the spread of Covid-19 and save lives.
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said “additional, temporary” measures are being planned to prevent another full lockdown.
He said he expected Health Secretary Matt Hancock to make an announcement on Thursday morning.