HEXHAM'S MP has said the latest coronavirus lockdown is necessary to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed as cases, with cases in the Tyne Valley remaining high.

Guy Opperman conceded that the third national lockdown, which came into force at midnight on Tuesday, would be tough - but maintained it was needed.

He said: "No one wants a lockdown, but given the challenge the new strain of the virus presents us with, another national lockdown is sadly now necessary, so that the vaccine can be effectively rolled out.

"I know how tough this going to be, but infections are now very high - especially in Tynedale. If we all stay at home as much as possible, we can get our vulnerable population vaccinated, and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.

"The government will continue to provide financial support packages to help individuals and businesses get through the weeks ahead and protect people's jobs.

"From further business grants, to the extension of the furlough scheme, details of all the support available can be found on my website."

The leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun. Glen Sanderson, also welcomed the imposition of lockdown.

A joint statement with the leaders of other North East councils said: " The Prime Minister has rightly imposed a national lockdown in England, meaning we must all now stay at home except for essential reasons.

“It was vital decisive action was taken to regain control of infection rates that have been soaring across the nation, including in our own region, in recent weeks.

“We know this will come as a disappointment to our communities, but it was a step the Government simply had to take."