I understand how frustrating and difficult these new restrictions will be, and I can assure you that the decision to implement them has not been taken lightly. However, over recent weeks we have seen a significant increase in infections across Northumberland, and the wider North East.
That is why last week, 7 North East Local Authorities including Northumberland wrote to the government requesting local action to try and stop the local rise in cases.
In other parts of the country, such as Aberdeen and Leicester, we have seen how a small cluster of cases can rapidly grow, doubling or tripling in a matter of days. I hope that with this swift action, we will soon see a reversal of this recent spike, and these restrictions in Northumberland can be eased.
I do not want us to get to the stage where we need to go into another full lockdown, which would see businesses need to close their doors again, but if infections continue to rise, that is where we are headed. These limited restrictions will mean that schools and local businesses can stay open, and livelihoods can be protected.
Evidence suggests that one of the primary causes of this recent increase in infections is in social settings, such as people mixing in homes and in hospitality settings. That is why these targeted restrictions are in place.
I am in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, and other Health Ministers for updates.