The government has confirmed local coronavirus restrictions will be enforced across parts of northwest England, the Midlands and West Yorkshire on Tuesday to “curb rising infection rates”.
The latest local lockdown measures will prevent multiple households in all affected areas from mixing – and see a 10pm curfew imposed on pubs and restaurants across the northwest.
The new rules will come into force on 22 September in Merseyside, Warrington, Halton, and Lancashire – but excludes Blackpool and Greater Manchester.
People in the northwest have been told to only use public transport for essential purposes, and residents must not socialise with anyone outside of their own households or support bubble, either in private homes and gardens.
In the Midlands, residents in Wolverhampton and Oadby and Wigston will also be banned from socialising with people outside their own households or support bubbles indoors and outdoors from Tuesday, 22 September.
Meanwhile in West Yorkshire, residents in all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale are also banned from socialising with other households or bubbles from the same date.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton.
“Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them.”
The minister added: “I know these restrictions will make everyday life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission.”
Earlier the health secretary admitted another national lockdown could be imposed as a “last line of defence” against rising coronavirus infections. “I don’t want to see that but we will do what is necessary to keep people safe in a very difficult pandemic.”
Commenting on the new restrictions in Wolverhampton, Ian Brookfield, the leader of the city council, said: “All the evidence shows that close contact within the home or between households is a major cause of the spread of Covid-19.
“We urge residents to continue to support our plea not to visit other households – this will be the law from Tuesday.”
The latest figures show Covid-19 rates in Liverpool have increased to 100.6 per 100,000 people, while in Warrington they have risen to 111.2, and 145.5 in Oadby and Wigston. In Wolverhampton, rates have increased to 61.8, according to the Department of Health.
The new rules do not apply to Bolton or Greater Manchester where separate restrictions are already in place.
People who are shielding in parts of northeast Blackburn where eight wards are under local restrictions will no longer need to from 5 October. Another change announced is that individuals who are shielding in Leicester will no longer need to from 5 October.