THE director of public health for Northumberland is reminding people of the importance of following Covid-19 guidelines as restrictions begin to ease.

It comes as new figures reveal more than 100 areas in England – including Northumberland – are experiencing a rise in infection rates.

Liz Morgan said: “In recent weeks, we have seen the number of cases of Covid in Northumberland fall and we need to do everything we can to keep the figures going in that direction. Current case rates are sitting at just under 20 per 100,000.

“Now lockdown has begun to ease further, with the reopening of non-essential retail, personal care premises, indoor leisure facilities and outdoor hospitality settings, it is more important than ever that we all remember to follow the Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air guidance.

“The easing of restrictions also means we can again meet friends and family outdoors in groups of six or two households, but this increase in social mixing will lead to an increase in cases if we don’t continue to be careful.

“If we want to see restrictions ease further over the coming weeks, we must keep doing the right things now to look after each other. We simply cannot afford to take any risks – even if we have been vaccinated.

“Hand hygiene, social distancing, the use of face coverings and meeting outside rather than inside will continue to be essential in preventing the virus from getting out of control.”