The Government has now made additional Covid-19 testing support available to 12 local authorities across the north east of England.
Made available for five weeks from yesterday (26 July), the support package will include the option to deliver extra testing, logistical support for the vaccine programme, and help for local public health campaigns.
The decision was made following the latest review of Covid-19 support provided to local areas across the country.
A similar scheme has been in place in Bedford and across most of the north west for between six and 10 weeks, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
It added that there ‘has been a great deal of exceptional work locally to drive up testing and vaccine uptake’ in these areas.
However, while the DHSC has extended the scheme to cover the north east, it announced it will scale it back in areas of the north west.
It said the Government will continue to work closely with the local authorities in those areas.
Public health minister Jo Churchill, said: ‘By working in lockstep with local authorities and directors of public health, this additional support should help turn the tide on these growing case numbers and extend the wall of protection that vaccines is creating across the country.’
It comes as the number of daily reported positive cases fell to 23,511 on 27 July, down from 46,558 last Tuesday (20 July).
In Middlesbrough, in the north east of England, in the week to 22 July, there were 1,045.5 cases per 100,000 people. That compares to 511 cases per 100,000 in Lancashire, in the north west of England, over the same time period.
The local authorities who will receive the support package include:
· South Tyneside
· Newcastle Upon Tyne
· North Tyneside
· Redcar & Cleveland
· Stockton on Tees
Meanwhile, the Government will be scaling back its support in:
· Bedford Borough Council
· Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
· Blackpool Council
· Cheshire East Council
· Cheshire West and Chester Council
· Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
· Lancashire County Council (Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
· Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (Halton, Knowsley Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral)
· Warrington Borough Council
It comes after warnings that the mix of Covid-19, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus could add unmanageable pressure to an already depleted NHS this winter.