Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

Lancashire 'to be placed under coronavirus curfew on Friday'

Lancashire will reportedly be the next area in England to face a local lockdown including a ban on households mixing and a curfew on pubs and restaurants.

The measures will affect all areas aside from parts of Blackpool with an official announcement expected on Friday, Sky News reports.

The cities of Preston and Lancaster and large towns such as Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley and Pendle are expected to be impacted.

The new restrictions are likely to mirror those that are coming into force at midnight on Friday in the North East.

That includes a 10pm curfew for licensed premises, which will have to switch to table service only, and a ban on people mixing with others outside their household.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the measures for the North East on Thursday, following government talks with local councils and MPs.

The restrictions will apply to around two million people living in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland.

It is also being reported that Merseyside is to be placed under the same lockdown restrictions due to a soaring number of infections in some areas.

A government announcement is expected tomorrow, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The lockdown reports come after almost 4,000 people tested positive for coronavirus for the second day in a row.

The soaring cases have caused a crisis in coronavirus testing across much of the country, with reports of people queuing for hours and being turned away at testing sites in virus hotspots.

The government has been criticised for failing to prepare for the surge in infections after relaxing lockdown restrictions and encouraging people to socialise under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The head of the government’s Test and Trace service, Baroness Dido Harding, has said she doesn’t believe ‘anybody was expecting to see the really sizeable increase in demand for tests’ and insisted it was a ‘quiet summer’.

But she admitted that ‘plainly we don’t have enough testing capacity’.

It is understood that offices could shut ‘within two weeks’ if the ‘rule of six’ does not push surging infection rates down.

There are fears the return of students to universities cause coronavirus cases to spiral, with images from Freshers Week showing young people ignoring social distancing on nights out.

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