A NORTH-EAST town has been placed on Public Health England's watch list following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Gateshead more than trebled in the last seven days, with 113 new cases in the first week of September.

The rate of infection is now around 55 cases per 100,00, and Gateshead Council fear lockdown restrictions could be imposed imminently if infection rates continue to rise.

Alice Wiseman, Gateshead's director of public health, said: "This is an extremely worrying situation for the borough and, if the infection continues to spread, we are likely to see some form of local restrictions.

"We are now seeing cases in every part of Gateshead which shows that the virus is circulating in the wider community. 

"Although, at the moment, we are seeing a rise in cases from younger people, none of us can be complacent. Once the virus is out in the community it can spread quickly, and we need to do all we can to keep our more vulnerable residents safe. 

"We ask residents to think about their role in spreading the virus."

Further afield, visiting has been suspended on all adult in-patient wards at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

It comes after a rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus hospital admissions over the past week.

Dr Shaz Wahid, medical director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have had to take the difficult decision to suspend visiting to all adult in-patient wards across our hospitals due to the rise in cases of Covid-19 that we are now seeing in our local community and our hospitals. 

"We understand that this will be frustrating for family and friends of our patients, but we need to do all we can to protect patients and staff and minimise the risk of the virus spreading across our hospital sites.

“Coronavirus is still very much out there and it is vitally important that everyone does their bit to protect themselves and others, especially those who are most vulnerable in our community."