THE leader of Northumberland County Council has suggested the county will move away from tighter restrictions if they are imposed on the rest of the North East, calling the current rules "tough enough."

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the region would be in the tier two - high category from Wednesday.

Northumberland was largely unaffected, as the restrictions imposed in September remained largely unchanged.

However, residents can now mix in gardens and outdoor spaces.

Speaking at Tuesday's meeting of Northumberland County Council's cabinet, Coun. Glen Sanderson said: "We're at a difficult stage. We know we're in tier two, I think that is quite sufficient for us in Northumberland.

"They're tough enough already. I certainly wouldn't want to see anything tougher.

"“I think we need to look carefully at a Northumberland plan and should there be the threat of tier three that looks like it might be coming towards us, that we are prepared for that, because I do not think the tier three restrictions are necessary for our county as a whole.

“Having said that, we will continue to be advised by public health experts and that will always be the key important thing. Taking public health first, but we must take people with us as well in all of this.”

Coun. Sanderson also moved to thank all those involved in the battle against the pandemic during the meeting.

He added: "I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been involved so far.

"I want to thank our executive staff who have been a tremendous support to me personally with COVID particularly.

"I would like to thank everyone involved in schools, in our care homes, and our enforcement teams."

The meeting also marked the first appearance of the council's CEO, Daljit Lally, since her return from suspension, when she introduced the council's most recent report on the coronavirus situation.

Ms Lally said: "We look to remain safe and keep our communities safe, and protect the NHS - which is vitally important anyway at this time of year.

"It's very important that we continue to support vulnerable people in our communities.

"As soon as these reports are written they're out of date - there's further work to be undertake but this will take us forward in the time being.

"It does give us some flexibility on people meeting outside."