A COUNTY councillor has urged Tyne Valley residents to continue to obey coronavirus restrictions despite the fall in the area's cases.

The district dominated the list of the worst-affected council wards in Northumberland for weeks - but recent figures appear to show the rate of new infections slowing down.

One ward hit particularly hard was Haltwhistle, which sat at the top of the county's rankings for several weeks.

The cause of the outbreak remains unknown, although a number of cases were confirmed at the town's largest employer - Plenmeller and Haydon Bridge High School.

Now, however, cases have fallen significantly. In the seven days between January 12 and January 18, there were 14 cases compared in the Haltwhistle ward, compared to the first week in December, where more that 80 cases were confirmed.

Coun. Ian Hutchinson, who represents the Haltwhistle ward, was pleased cases appear to be going in the right direction.

Coun. Hutchinson said: "It's good that cases have turned down quite considerably from when they were up in the 80s.

"The testing centre is going to move around now because cases aren't as bad as they were before. I believe we're going to have it once a week now.

"From what I gather, they're fairly well on with the vaccinations - we're one of the leading places in the country, and it's nice to have some recognition.

"It was a scary time, it was really bad - and nobody knew what the cause was. As long as it's under control, that's the main thing."

Despite the fact cases have fallen across the district, Coun. Hutchinson has urged residents to continue to follow the rules.

He also believes there continues to be complacency among some people.

Coun. Hutchinson continued: ""I still think there's a complacency among people all over the place, who think it will be a bad cold.

"For some people, it is just a bad cold - but some people aren't getting over it, people are still dying of it.

"People should still follow the advice. I've witnessed people being complacent - not in Haltwhistle, in other places - with no facemasks, not distancing.

"I don't know what they need to be told. I think there needs to be more fines now."

COVID restriction breaches can be punished with a fine of up to £6,400.