Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologised for confusing his own coronavirus rules on social gatherings.
He was questioned about the latest Covid-19 restrictions coming into force for northeast England from midnight on Wednesday.
At first he said people could meet indoors and outdoors in groups of six in areas where no additional coronavirus restrictions are in place.
But speaking during a press conference in Exeter, Devon, he claimed: "In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities.
"It's six in a home or six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside."
That was contrary with what residents had been told in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, County Durham and North and South Tyneside.
That was at odds with what residents had been told in Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.
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Official guidelines warn people living in the areas "not to mix with people outside their household or bubble in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants".
And hospitality workers are obliged to "take steps to ensure that people do not socialise outside of their households inside and outside your premises".
Mr Johnson finished his answer by admitting: "Clearly for everyone watching this, this is one of those things people will feel is confusing."
He later tweeted an apology, saying: "Apologies, I misspoke today. In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home.
"You should avoid socialising with other households outside.
"This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities."
Labour accused Mr Johnson of being "grossly incompetent".
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