COUNCIL leaders in the North-East have said they would oppose any move by the government to move the region into the very high - alert level three category.  

In a joint statement, the Leaders of all seven councils in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and County Durham, along with the North of Tyne Mayor and the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, remained united in their approach to tackling the pandemic. 

"At every turn we have put any differences aside to work together for the benefit of our residents, businesses and communities," it said. 

"We took the decision early last month to approach the government to ask for restrictions and resources to be put in place due to a worrying rise in the community Covid infection rate. 

"While we welcomed the government’s response, the package of measures we put forward to support this move was not delivered. 

"Three weeks on, and there is evidence that the restrictions are starting to have an impact. Figures are moving in the right direction, with the rise in cases slowing and giving us cause for cautious optimism. 

"We are concerned by the suggestion that a decision could be taken nationally to move our region into Alert Level three, and we strongly oppose this at the current time. 

"We are seeing evidence of a flattening of the curve and there is a collective view – shared by all the leaders, chief executives and critically our superb directors of public health that, with the public’s support we can make Alert Level Two work."

The leaders thanked members of the public who had done their bit so far, and asked them to follow the restrictions already in place, avoid gatherings and mixing indoors with other households, and maintain the 'Hands, Face, Space' public health guidance at all times. 

The statement added: "We’re appealing for the government to work with us and give the latest measures sufficient time to work before they think about more restrictions. 

"The priority has and always will be the health of our residents and driving down the rates of Covid infection remains our focus, but we must also do as much as we can to protect our economy – and for that we need government support.

"We firmly believe now is not the time to be moving to Alert Level 3, the evidence does not support this, and the economic consequences will be devastating without further support."