Yesterday, Thursday, December 17, Matt Hancock announced which tiers areas would be in as Christmas and New Year approaches.
It had been hoped the region would be moved into Tier 2, a high risk alert area, from Tier 3, the very high risk category, which means hospitality venues can only operate a takeaway service, accommodation remains closed and restrictions remain on people mixing with other households and bubbles.
The leaders of the LA7 council authorities said while they accept the decision on public health grounds, they wanted a greater understanding of how moving out of Tier 3 will be determined in the New Year.
In details published by the Government, it says it has been the increasing number of cases in South Tyneside which have caused concern, while it has been raise relaxing the rules elsewhere could lead to an increase.
Yesterday, bosses at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said it was dealing with a surge of cases, with staff at South Tyneside District Hospital treating more than double the number of patients now than at the start of the pandemic.
In a statement, the Government said: “Since the end of national restrictions, the overall picture in the North East Seven has remained stable and case rates are broadly decreasing in Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
"However, case rates are high and continuing to rise in South Tyneside which has the highest case rate in the area – 272 per 100,000 – and is seeing a deterioration across all epidemiology indicators.
"Case rates is lowest in Gateshead – 94 per 100,000 – however the trajectory of some neighbouring local authorities is concerning, with increasing case rates, therefore de-escalation of this area would likely lead to cases further increasing, particularly given human travel patterns across the region.
“De-escalating areas now could lead to further rises in case numbers, and overall, the epidemiology indicators are still too high for the area to move down to Tier 2.”
The LA7 brings together Sunderland City Council, South Tyneside Council, Northumberland County County, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council and North Tyneside Council.