Tougher new restrictions are ‘one of the only lines of defence’ to tackle Covid-19, public health chiefs in our region have warned.

The Government has announced both Hull and the East Riding will move into the ‘high’ risk category of Tier 2 from 12.01am on Saturday, October 31. Read more on our live blog.

This means changes to how we are allowed to socialise indoors, including no longer having people in our homes who do not live there, or who are not part of our support bubble.

Hull’s current seven-day infection rate, of 248 per 100,000 of the population, demonstrates why the city has had to go up a tier. To put in context, on September 8 Hull’s rate was just 4.4 per 100,000 of population.

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Hull City Council’s director of Public Health, Julia Weldon, admits the tougher measures have been on the cards for a while.

"This change was expected, and we have been in regular communication with the government and our neighbouring authorities in preparation for it," she said.

“The restrictions are one of the only lines of defence we have against coronavirus and it is vital we all adhere to them.

"Please continue to take care of each other by following the new guidance, washing your hands frequently, maintaining social distance and wearing a face covering when required."

She added: "Take notice by looking out for the key coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change to sense of taste or smell); and take action by self-isolating immediately and getting a test if symptomatic."

Watch: why a second lockdown is 'only a matter of time'

Councillor Stephen Brady, leader of Hull City Council and chair of the city’s Outbreak Management and Prevention Engagement Board, has urged everyone to pull together.

He said: "I urge every person in the city to familiarise themselves with the new rules that come into effect on Saturday.

“Without significant action, rates in our city will continue to climb, putting all of us, our loved ones and particularly the more vulnerable members of our community at risk.

"We have seen in other areas, with rates higher than Hull, residents coming together and reversing the growing infection trend. We need to do this in Hull to support the NHS, our local hospitals and health workers.

"I know how hard our residents and businesses have worked for many months now and the sacrifices they have made to try to control this virus.

“The way we have come together as a community to protect each other has been incredible, and we need to continue to stick together."

Councillor Richard Burton, leader of East Riding Council, said the authority would continue to do everything it could to support local people and save lives while continuing to provide important services to communities.

People wearing face masks in Hull city centre as coronavirus cases continue to soar
People wearing face masks in Hull city centre as coronavirus cases continue to soar

He said: “Residents and businesses of the East Riding have been fantastic in their efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 and in supporting each other through this global pandemic and I’m confident that they will respond positively to this new phase of the public health crisis by doing what is being asked of them.

“We said from the start that we would need to have a collective public spirit to get through this and to also be flexible in our approach to what continues to be a rapidly-changing situation.

“The change in local alert level will bring new challenges. We know that our residents and businesses have selflessly prioritised the health and wellbeing of themselves, their families and friends and their wider communities.

“I know that this news will be met with understandable concern and frustration, but we must now ask for that same selfless resolve again so that we can come through this together.

But Cllr Burton believes there is room for optimism.

He said: “While the situation continues to be challenging, both in terms of public health and the economy, we can see a way forward and light is beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel.

“There are reasons for optimism. More is now known about Covid-19 than at the start of the pandemic and good progress continues to be made in terms of vaccine development and with respect to the use of therapeutics to aid in treatment.”

Andy Kingdom, East Riding’s director of public health, has urged residents to keep following the safety advice.

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He said: “Handwashing, respecting social distance and wearing face coverings when appropriate, and, unless you are exempt, are simple but extremely effective ways people can help to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Equally important are always noticing when you have any of the Covid-19 symptoms and immediately acting to get tested as soon as possible and self-isolating.

“If people do the right thing, by doing these basic things correctly, then they can curb the spread of the virus and not only protect themselves but protect their loved ones, avoid further restrictions on their daily lives and ultimately save lives.”