New Covid-19 rules and pub curfews hit North East towns and cities tomorrow

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New social distancing measures are to be implemented in parts of the UK from tomorrow as the Government tries to bring the number of new coronavirus cases down.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said restrictions will be put in place in the North East from Friday due to "concerning rates of infection".

Speaking in the Commons, he said: "From tomorrow, in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham, residents should not socialise with other people outside their own households or support bubble.

"Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only and late night restrictions on operating hours will be introduced so leisure and entertainment venues must close between 10pm and 5am."

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The new measures, which will affect almost two million people, come as the number of new cases in the North East is rising alarmingly.

Local authorities had written to Hancock begging him to implement new restrictions.

The Government has suggested the recent rise in infections was because young people were socialising in groups and ignoring social distancing restrictions.

There has been a 167% in the number of new people testing positive for Covid-19 in England, the NHS Test and Trace scheme said.

The scheme said positive cases have been rising since the start of July and are now double the number recorded when Test and Trace launched in May.

There are also growing fears that there may not be enough tests available for people with symptoms.

Test results are experiencing increasing delays, with just 8% of people tested this week receiving a positive result in the first 24 hours.

Ministers have blamed the surge in demand on too many people getting tested when they have no symptoms of coronavirus or hadn't been contacted by Test and Trace.

Hancock has said he's reluctant to introduce eligibility tests because he wants people with symptoms to be able to get tested quickly.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted for the first time that the testing system has "huge problems".

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