10pm pub curfew imposed in north-east England from Friday, health secretary confirms
New social restrictions will come into place in the north-east of England from midnight tonight, in a bid to control rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the region
Earlier today, health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the new measures would be put into place from Friday, affecting people in Northumberland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead and County Durham.
The two million people in the areas affected are not to socialise with people outside of their household or support bubble. Restrictions on the hospitality sector will also be put in place, with restaurants to offer table service only, and curfews put in place between 10pm and 5am on pubs, bars, restaurants and other leisure and entertainment venues.
In an update to parliament, the health secretary said, "With winter on the horizon, we must prepare, bolster our defences and come together once again against this common foe."
"We've seen concerning rates of infection in parts of the north-east. As a result, local authorities wrote to me earlier this week asking for tighter restrictions, and we've taken swift action to put them in place."
Sunderland currently has an infection rate of 103 cases per 100,000 people, Hancock said in his update, adding that in Newcastle, South Tyneside and Gateshead, the figures had all risen above 70 per 100,000 people.
The new restrictions are being put in place with the hope of avoiding another national lockdown. Recently the government implemented the 'Rule of Six', which says that people are not to meet in groups larger than six both indoors and outdoors, though there were a number of exceptions, including a controversial allowance for grouse shooting.