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UK coronavirus news – live: Northeast faces fresh restrictions, as PM tells public only to snitch on ‘huge parties’

Members of staff wearing PPE at The Victoria in Whitley Bay.

Areas including Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland could see a 10pm curfew on pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises and people banned from socialising with anyone outside their household.  

It comes as prime minister Boris Johnson told people not to snitch on their neighbours for breaching the new “rule of six” unless they are having “some huge kind of Animal House party”. 

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Pub curfews

The prime minister has said the government is looking at bringing in a curfew on pub opening hours to stop the spread of coronavirus, Jon Stone reports.

Boris Johnson said he hoped the government’s new “rule of six” would be enough to send the country’s “R number” negative again, and said he did not want to impose a full nationwide lockdown for the sake of businesses.

Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 08:39

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Workplaces could reportedly close again in fortnight

Offices will be reshut within two weeks if coronavirus infection rates continue to rise, ministers have reportedly warned.  

The new restriction would come little more than a month after Boris Johnson told people they should be returning to the workplace. 

Our North of England correspondent Colin Drury explains more:

Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 08:26

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North East restrictions are ‘preventative’ measure, says council boss

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes has said new coronavirus restrictions are being introduced in the North East as a “preventative” measure.

“I think we should all be deeply concerned about the rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases we have seen over the last week in the North East,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“And not just the rapid rise in numbers, but also the fact that the average age of people being infected is going up as well.

“Last week 60% of the people that were being tested were between the ages of 18 and 30. That is now starting to reach into older age groups as well.

“We know that when it starts to affect older people that’s when you start to get the hospitalisations and sadly also the mortality too.

“That’s why we are acting now as a preventative measure to try to put off any further spread of the virus and ensure that we don’t end up here in the North East in a more restrictive lockdown instead.”

Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 08:23

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Health minister plays down reports of national lockdown

Health minister Edward Argar has played down reports that the government is considering a two-week national lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

“It is not something I have seen within the department,” he told Sky News.

“The prime minister has been very clear on this. He doesn’t want to see another national lockdown. He wants to see people abiding by the regulations and making the local lockdowns work.”

With further lockdowns expected to be announced in the northeast of England today, Mr Argar said the region was seeing a spike in cases similar to that in the North West.

“In the North East we are seeing a spike in infections. It is exactly what we have seen in the North West. We monitor that rate. Where we need to, we step in and take action,” he said.

Mr Argar said that in the North West, the rise had been driven in part by people not adhering to the social distancing requirements.

“Obviously a nighttime economy will fuel that with people having been out late into the evening.”

Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 08:05

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Only snitch on neighbours having “huge Animal House parties”

Boris Johnson has told people not to snitch on neighbours breaking the new “rule of six” unless they are having “huge Animal House” style parties.

The prime minister urged people to speak with rulebreakers before notifying the authorities.

He told The Sun: “I have never much been in favour of sneak culture, myself.

“What people should do in the first instance is obviously if they are concerned is raise it with their friends and neighbours.

“But I think what is reasonable for anyone to do is if they think there is a serious threat to public health as a result of their neighbours’ activities – if there is some huge kind of Animal House party taking place, as I am sure, hot tubs and so forth, and there is a serious threat to public health then its reasonable for the authorities to know.”

Animal House is an American comedy which marked John Belushi’s film debut as a hard-partying college fraternity member.

The PM’s advice is seemingly at odds with that of the home secretary, who on Tuesday said she would report breaches of coronavirus restrictions by neighbours and even suggested families stopping to talk in the street could be breaking the new laws.

Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 07:55

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Northeast of England facing fresh lockdown restrictions

Swathes of the North East of England are expected to be brought under local lockdown measures from Friday to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to local media reports — impacting hundreds of thousands.

The Northern Echo reports measures could include a ban on socialising between different households and a 10pm curfew on pubs, adding that Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland are all expected to be impacted.

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said “additional, temporary” measures are being planned to prevent another full lockdown — and that health secretary Matt Hancock is expected to make an announcement on the matter on Thursday morning.

Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 07:52

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Good morning and welcome to today’s live blog – we’ll be bringing you all the latest updates and statistics on the pandemic.

Chiara Giordano17 September 2020 07:52

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