NORTHUMBERLAND'S Director of Public Health has urged residents to take a 'sensible and cautious approach' ahead of Covid-19 restrictions being lifted.

Most restrictions end on Monday (July 19).

But Director of Public Health at Northumberland County Council, Liz Morgan, said with a 40 per cent increase in Covid-19 cases this week, it is important people remember "the pandemic is still with us".

Ms Morgan said: "Cases are continuing to rise, and although case rates are no longer doubling every week, there has been a 40% increase this week. In some areas of the county, numbers have risen at even more alarming rates.  

“We’ve had over 2,000 new cases reported in the last seven days, but we know they’re only a proportion of the number of people with infection in the community.  

“We still have the 14th highest rates in England, even though we are a county with lots of fresh air and space.   

“The pandemic is still with us, and it is vital we all remain cautious. The Delta variant is more transmissible and continues to spread in our communities, largely amongst those who remain unvaccinated. 

“The more cautious we are and the slower we return to pre-covid behaviours, the more likely we are to minimise the peak and keep our businesses, services and economy running. So we all have a part to play in making this work and keeping our communities safe.” 

 Council Leader Glen Sanderson added: “The past 18 months have been extremely difficult for everyone but there are positive times ahead. 

"However, we must all take a sensible and cautious approach to ensure the progress we’ve made is not wasted in the coming weeks and months. 

"As a council we’ll be taking all reasonable steps to reduce risks to keep our residents and staff safe, with regards to opening up our services and our buildings. 

“So we’d ask everyone to please keep doing what they’ve been doing for a little longer be considerate of the concerns of our more vulnerable residents who are perhaps more hesitant about Step 4 and enjoy the lifting of restrictions in a safe way.”