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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What’s happening in your region?


This third national lockdown is having the desired effect, with figures indicating that coronavirus rates across the country are on the decline. A study by the REACT programme at Imperial college London revealed that in the North East in January, 1.22 % of those tested were found to be positive. A month later, this number has fallen to 0.82%. Though it is promising to see the infection rate decline, positive cases are declining slower in some parts of the north east than in the rest of England. In County Durham, there are thought to be 162.2 positive cases per 100,000 people, slightly higher than the national average of 142 per 100,000 people. In Darlington this number is quite a bit higher at 195.7. In Hartlepool it's 160.1, and Redcar & Cleveland have 199.1. Currently the worst affected areas are Middlesbrough with a  rate of 307.8 per 100,000 and Stockton with 357.7. Though these numbers are quite a lot higher than the national average, it is a significant feline from the month previous. 

The rollout of the vaccine programme has been quite promising so far, with a new mass vaccination centre set to open in Durham on Monday at the Arnison Centre. Teesside are also set to get their own vaccination centre with the riverside stadium named as one potential venue. Over sixteen million people have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Looking ahead, and on Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be revealing his roadmap for leaving lockdown, saying he will be looking to the data to signify when certain restrictions should be eased, instead of sticking to particular dates, although last weekend ministers were hoping that schools could reopen from 8 March, with non-essential shops to eventually  follow and later pubs and restaurants. In Scotland and Wales pupils will be returning to school on Monday. Infectious disease expert Dr Mike Tildesley has warned about reopening “too quickly” and seeing case numbers rise once again.

As we look to the next phase of the pandemic, public health experts are calling for a complete find, test, trace and isolate system to replace the failed track and trace, to guarantee that cases don't spiral out of control once again. With those who do get asked to self isolate, given appropriate financial and practical support. As well as this, calls have been made to make Mask-wearing in classrooms compulsory when the children go back to school.  Improved ventilation and reducing the size of education bubbles have also been advised. 

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