The government extended lockdown restrictions on regions of north-west England today, saying there was no evidence that the coronavirus infection rates in the areas had fallen.
“The latest evidence does not show a decrease in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area, and the health secretary, in collaboration with local leaders, has agreed that the rules must remain in place at present,” a government statement said.
The decision was taken following a two-week review of restrictions imposed on Leicester, Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire, which prevent people from different households meeting indoors.
Data will be reviewed again next week, the government said.
Earlier today the government signalled another major easing of lockdown restrictions in England to allow casinos, theatres and more to reopen from tomorrow.
North-west England ‘must remain vigilant’
But those businesses must remain closed where lockdown restrictions have now been extended, the government said.
“We will review the measures again next week as part of our ongoing surveillance and monitoring of the latest data,” health minister Edward Argar said.
“It is essential we all remain vigilant, and I urge everyone in these areas to follow the rules – wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms, and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to.”
The government also warned other areas of England remain at risk with escalating coronavirus rates.
Oldham and Pendle exhibit a “continued rise in cases” based on the latest available data. And infections remain high in Blackburn with Darwen.
Local community leaders are now creating an “enhanced incident team” to battle the spike in coronavirus infections.
The government said it will monitor progress in these areas throughout the weekend and into next week.
What does the lockdown extension mean in north-west England?
The extension of lockdown in the north-west of England means people cannot mix with other households in private gardens or homes unless they are in the same support bubble.
However, they can meet other households in public places in groups of up to six people or two households.
Nail bars, pools, beauty salons and indoor gyms will remain closed in Bradford, Blackburn and Leicester.
The government said Leicester has made progress and has seen its infection rates fall. A fresh review is underway into whether Leicester can ease its lcokdown restrictions.
Meanwhile, Public Health England added Newark and Sherwood to its coronavirus watch list, meaning they risk a return to lockdown.
- Greater Manchester:
- City of Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
- West Yorkshire: