A North Tyneside health boss has urged residents to stick to the rules following a sharp rise in cases in the borough.
The Indian variant of the virus is on the increase and there has been a jump in the number of positive cases in recent days.
Because of this, the public are being asked to do all they can to limit the spread.
The infection rate in North Tyneside has increased from 19.2 to 35.1 per 100,000 in the last week and the new variant has now been detected in different areas of the borough.
There is no current evidence that the Indian variant causes more serious illness and the vaccine seems to protect against it. However, it does appear to pass to others more easily.
North Tyneside director of public health Wendy Burke said: “The speed at which the cases are increasing in the borough is a real concern and I must urge everyone to do their bit.
“As restrictions ease and we enjoy more freedoms, we really must take care so that we can continue to do so. The last thing we want is more restrictions, our loved ones to become poorly and the NHS to become overburdened again – but this could be a reality if cases continue to increase at the current rate.
“Many people aged under 50 have not yet had a first or second dose of the vaccine, meaning they remain at risk from Covid–19 or potentially suffering from long Covid.
"Our NHS colleagues are working hard to accelerate remaining second doses to the over-50s. No vaccine offers 100 per cent protection, so while it’s vital that we take up the offer when eligible, we must also follow the guidance even if we’ve been vaccinated.
“Keeping Covid-19 rates as low as possible is our number one priority to protect the public and to prevent more dangerous variants from emerging.
“I know how difficult the last 14 months have been and I continue to be amazed by the resilience of North Tyneside’s residents.
"However, I must urge everyone to please carry on following the guidance, take your vaccine if eligible, access testing with or without symptoms and practice ‘hands, face, space’ as much as possible.”
The council says residents should take a PCR test if they experience symptoms, including a continuous cough, high temperature and loss of taste and/or smell.
There are two test sites in North Tyneside – at The Parks Sports Centre, North Shields, and Coronation Street car park, Wallsend.
Tests can be booked online at www.gov.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
All residents without symptoms are encouraged to take twice-weekly lateral flow tests, which can be accessed in several ways, including from over 40 pharmacies, in schools, workplaces and through the post.
Find out more at www.northtyneside.gov.uk.