Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

Northern lockdown to continue after virus cases fail to fall

Coronavirus restrictions in place across northern England will continue for at least another week after data showed cases still aren’t falling in towns like Blackburn and Oldham.

Around four million people living in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire will still not be able to mix with other households for a third week running.

It’s after the latest data failed to show a decrease in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the areas affected.

There has been a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen, the Department of Health said. The measures will be reviewed again next week.

Leicester will also remain under a local lockdown, the Department of Health has decided although cases there are falling.

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Health minister Edward Argar said: ‘I’d like to thank everyone in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester for their continued patience in following these vital rules put in place to tackle the spread of the disease – I know it hasn’t been easy.

‘We will review the measures again next week as part of our ongoing surveillance and monitoring of the latest data.

‘It is essential we all remain vigilant and I urge everyone in these areas to continue 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.’

Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas will not be permitted to open in these areas, despite being allowed to do so in other parts of England.

People in affected areas will not be able to visit other households’ homes and gardens unless they are in a support bubble together.

Current restrictions allow people to meet others in groups of up to six individuals, or two households in outdoor public places.

Pools, indoor gyms and other leisure facilities as well as nail bars, spas and beauty salons are to remain closed in Bradford, Blackburn and Leicester, while shielding will continue for individuals in Blackburn with Darwen, and Leicester City.

Newark and Sherwood in Nottinghamshire have been designated ‘areas of concern’ on the watch list of local authority areas with higher-than-average incidences of the virus.

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