Published: 06:45 EDT, 27 October 2020 | Updated: 12:11 EDT, 27 October 2020
A councillor who claims that Covid-19 is a 'fake virus' which does not exist has compared life under lockdown to 'living in North Korea'.
Irene Hewitson, an Independent member of Great Aycliffe Town Council in Co Durham, said she will believe that coronavirus exists 'when my neighbours, relatives, friends and work people are dying around me'.
Speaking at an anti-lockdown rally in Durham city centre, the outspoken councillor compared the virus to the flu and suggested the pandemic would be over 'if people turned their TVs off and just took their masks off'.
'We're being locked down over a fake virus. I don't believe the virus exists,' Cllr Hewitson, 63, told ChronicleLive yesterday. 'When my neighbours, relatives, friends and work people are dying around me then I'll believe it's true.
'I've got a friend who works in the Nightingale Hospital and they've never had one patient. They've been cleaning a hospital for six months. It's absolutely disgusting.
'My granddaughter goes dancing, she goes skating – all the things she enjoys is going ahead – and yet Boris can still go hunting and shooting, it's absolutely disgusting.'
The Byerley Park, Horndale & Cobblers Hall councillor's outburst came during an anti-lockdown protest held at Market Place in Durham yesterday.
The rally, which was organised by Geza Tarjanyi who has spent months protesting outside Downing Street, saw a tiny turnout of opponents to the Government's pandemic policies.
Cllr Hewitson, who lives in Newton Aycliffe, added: 'I think if people turned their TVs off and just took their masks off, got back to normal then the virus would be gone.
'I'm 63-year-old and I've never worn a mask, I've never used hand sanitiser and I've never had a day's illness. And I won't because I'm building up an immunity if there is a little tiny virus out there like the flu.
'People need to wake up fast because before long we're going to have no jobs, no social life, no life at all. It's going to be like living in North Korea.'
A spokesperson for Great Aycliffe Town Council declined to comment.
Durham is currently in Tier 2 lockdown, where households and support bubbles are banned from meeting indoors.
But separate households can meet outdoors and in public gardens, provided they keep two metres apart.
Meanwhile 1,725 students and 20 members of staff at Durham University have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of term.
Speaking at an anti-lockdown rally in Durham city centre, the outspoken councillor compared the virus to the flu and suggested the pandemic would be over 'if people turned their TVs off and just took their masks off'
Mr Tarjanyi has questioned the success and purpose of Covid-19 restrictions enforced in the stated attempt to suppress the virus.
Holding a white flag with the word 'TRUTH' printed on it, he gave a half-hour speech during which he branded Prime Minister Boris Johnson a traitor, local media reports.
He urged the small crowd in the Market Place to put a white flag outside their businesses to show their support before telling them: 'Believe me folks, we are very, very close to bringing down this government, the police know it, the judges know it, the country knows it and even Boris Johnson knows it.
'We are now going to stay strong, we have now got to believe in people like me who are telling you the truth.'
A number of police officers were seen in the Market Place observing the event.
It comes as a group of 50 MPs from 'red wall' constituencies demanded a lockdown exit strategy in the biggest Tory challenge to Boris Johnson's election since the General Election.
The Northern Research Group of Conservative backbenchers has written to Mr Johnson to warn the Covid-19 crisis is threatening his pledge to 'level-up' the country and could 'send the North into reverse'.
The group, led by former minister Jake Berry, wants the Prime Minister to publish a 'clear road map' for Tier 3 areas to leave lockdown as well as an economic recovery plan for the North of England.