Sunderland had just 16 Covid cases last week as the city recorded one of the lowest infection rates in the entire country.
Only Cumbria currently has a lower infection rate, after cases plummeted by almost two thirds in one week on Wearside.
That figure also means that just one in every 15,384 Sunderland residents tested positive for the virus last week – with cases down by almost 99% since the start of the third lockdown.
“This just shows that everyone’s sacrifice over the past few months has been well worth it,” said Sunderland City Councillor Paul Edgeworth, of the Lib Dems.
“I think everyone is now looking forward to next week when we can finally meet indoors, and it is nice to see everything moving in the right direction.”
The figures are in stark contrast to the start of lockdown, when Sunderland – like much of the North East – had one of the highest infection rates in England.
Government data shows that in the first week of 2021, the city’s infection rate was 486.5 – and worryingly, it was still rising.
However last week, cases fell by 64.7% across the city. That was the largest decline among the North East’s councils.
Generally, the infection rate is currently not only lower South of the River Tyne, but cases there are also falling faster.
In County Durham (18.7), infections declined by 38.9% while in South Tyneside (12.6) positive tests were down by 29.6&.
Gateshead (12.4) also enjoyed a significant drop in the number of cases, with infections falling by 21.9%.
North of the river, cases actually increased in North Tyneside (21.6) by 9.8%.
They did decline by 6.6% in Newcastle (37.6) although the city currently has by far the highest infection rate in the region.
And while they fell by 2% in Northumberland (15.5), rates are currently so low that only equated to one fewer case week-on-week.
(Infection rates are the number of cases for every 100,000 people. The data used in this story was extracted from the UK Government’s interactive Covid data map, and was correct for the week ending May 6)