100,000 deaths signals a grim milestone in the fight against Covid-19
Please find below joint statement from the seven council Leaders and Mayor, North of Tyne Mayor, and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner:
"Every single one of us has suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and we have all made sacrifices in an attempt to save as many lives as possible. To see the death toll pass 100,000 loved ones is a sobering reminder as to how deadly this virus is.
"Every life lost brings grief to that person's family, friends and community, and that so many have died over the past 12 months is incredibly tough to take.
"Our own communities in the North East have experienced this grief and as we mourn for those who have lost their lives, we must try and take solace in the fact that countless more have been saved as a result of the efforts made by everyone in our region.
"While we await added protection through vaccines, which will still take many months to achieve, we must all continue doing what we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our wider communities, even if you've had the vaccine.
"Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary, maintain your distance from others at all times, keep washing your hands thoroughly and regularly, and wear a face covering where required unless exempt.
"Infection rates remain high, especially with the more transmissible variant of the virus accounting for the majority of our cases now, and there can be no room for complacency.
"One area where we are continuing to see outbreaks is in workplaces and of course anyone who can work from home should do so. But if you do have to leave home for work, we would ask that employers and their staff make every possible effort to operate in a Covid-secure manner, which includes following the Hands, Face, Space guidance in breakout areas and not mixing bubbles in travel to and from work.
"There is still a long way to go in the fight against this virus, with lessons to be learned and questions to be answered. Quick solutions are needed for our schoolchildren, most of whom will still be learning at home until at least March 8, and our businesses need support to survive this period of inactivity.
"The pandemic has caused so much pain already and we must do what we can to minimise further loss of life. Please, stay at home, follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance, and self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms. Thank you."
Cllr Simon Henig, CBE, Leader, Durham County Council
Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader, Gateshead Council
Cllr Nick Forbes, CBE, Leader, Newcastle City Council
Norma Redfearn CBE, Elected Mayor, North Tyneside Council
Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader, Northumberland County Council
Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader, South Tyneside Council
Cllr Graeme Miller, Leader, Sunderland City Council
Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor
Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner