Huge area of England goes back into lockdown with 2,000,000 under curfew

Residents in the north-east of England will no longer be allowed to meet up with friends and hospitality venues will be placed under a curfew in a matter of hours. 

Around 2 million residents will be banned from mixing with other households, announced the health secretary on Thursday morning. 

Pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises will also be forced to close their doors to the public between 10pm and 5am and move to table service only. 

The restrictions will apply to Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland – which have seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases. 

Matt Hancock said council leaders in the North East had written to him following ‘concerning rates of infection’ urging that tighter restrictions were put in place. 

He said: ‘I know, the whole house knows, that these decisions have a real impact on families, on businesses, and on local communities and I can tell everyone affected that we do not take these decisions lightly. 

‘We agree with the local councils that we must follow the data and act. And the data says that we must act now, so we can control the virus and keep people safe.’ 

Hancock revealed that Sunderland’s infection rate was up to 103 per 100,000 people, while in South Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead the figures are above 70. 

There were 1,106 new cases in just one week across the areas being put under the latest restrictions.

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