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Government accused of ‘incompetence’ on travel advice to Covid hotspots, including North Tyneside UK News

The government has been accused of “incompetence” after advising against all but essential travel to eight regions of England – including North Tyneside – where the Covid variant first identified in India is spreading fastest.

Officials said areas such as Bolton, Leicester, Kirklees and London’s Hounslow have been the hardest hit and people are unlikely to meet indoors.

In North Tyneside, there have been around 40 confirmed cases of the Indian variant so far.

And surge testing in the region has shown a Covid case rate of around 55 per 100,000 people over seven days, which is “well over 100 cases in a week,” health officials said.

According to government advice, people should avoid traveling in and out of the eight zones, with Bedford, Blackburn along with Darwen, Burnley and North Tyneside also on the list. People in the eight zones should also be tested twice a week.

The change to the guidelines – which is not a law – appears to have been made on Friday without an official announcement, which drew criticism from MPs.

Yasmin Qureshi, Labor MP for Bolton South East and shadow minister for international development, said: “I was not told and I understand, neither was anyone else in Bolton.

“I’m just stunned. They are making such an important announcement and they don’t even have the decency to tell us or tell our constituents. It’s typical of this government’s incompetence.”

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Layla Moran, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the coronavirus, said updating the guidance without a proper announcement “is a recipe for confusion and uncertainty.”

“Local people and public health officials in these areas need urgent clarity from the government. Matt Hancock is to come before Parliament and make a public statement to explain these new rules,” he said. she declared.

Newly elected West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin added that the change could cause “anxiety and confusion”.

Ms Brabin said she would urgently raise the issue with Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi on Tuesday.

She tweeted: “If the government is concerned, we need clear advice and support, not advice that could cause anxiety and confusion.”

Meanwhile, quarantine requirements would be maintained for those who come in contact with positive cases after June 21, even if they received both doses of the vaccine.

The Daily Telegraph said this could mean the nearly 23 million people who received both doses could be forced to self-isolate for 10 days if contacted by the NHS, adding that a negative test would not allow quickly end the quarantine.

In addition, the government will be faced on Tuesday with an urgent question from Labor shadow secretary of health, Jonathan Ashworth, on Covid-19.

A government spokesperson said: “Together with local authorities, we have taken swift and decisive action to slow the spread of B1.617.2 (India) variant by introducing surge testing and offering second doses. vaccine for the most vulnerable.

“We provided additional guidance to people living in affected areas when we became aware of the risk posed by the variant, to encourage people to take a very careful approach when meeting other people or traveling.”