THE PUBLIC have been warned to make “every effort” to keep coronavirus cases low in December in order to gather at Christmas.

That is the claim of a national health director, who suggested tougher restrictions could be needed either side of Christmas if curbs are to be eased over the festive period.

Dr Susan Hopkins, a senior medical adviser to the Government’s Covid-19 response, said for families to meet over Christmas cases would need to be as low as possible to reduce the risk of transmission within households and between families.

North-East leaders have repeated calls of reducing social contact and following the rules amid concern at Covid infection rates, with just 14 days until lockdown is due to end.

A statement read: "It is about saving lives and protecting the NHS to ensure it is not over run and able to cope with the demands on our services.

"We need your support to ensure that all our services remain open and safe."

The appeal comes as ministers work out what new tiers should replace the previous system once England emerges from the current lockdown on December 2.

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