Bolton Covid-19 spike partly caused by 'holidaymaker who went on pub crawl'

19 September 2020, 11:40

Bolton in Greater Manchester has been placed under local lockdown
Bolton in Greater Manchester has been placed under local lockdown. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A holidaymaker who did not self-isolate after returning to Bolton was partly responsible for the area's "extreme spike" in coronavirus cases, the council leader has said.

Bolton Council leader David Greenhalgh said the area's high rate had been linked back to pubs in the town and a "cohort of people" who refused to follow guidance.

The Conservative councillor said: "We had somebody who did not adhere to quarantine, did not stay the 14 days, literally went on a pub crawl with a number of mates.

"From that incident which took place over a weekend - (they) visited a number of premises - led to a large number of individual transmissions from that one person which you can imagine then is like holding back the tide because he then became symptomatic two days after they had all gone on this pub crawl.

"He was positive-tested the following day.

"That is four or five days where all the people he was in contact with have been going about their normal day-to-day business."

Earlier this month a 23-year-old man from Bolton was fined £1,000 for failing to self-isolate after returning from a holiday in Ibiza and hosting a house party.

It is not known whether the individual mentioned by Mr Greenhalgh was fined for breaching regulations.

Leaders in Bolton had been arguing for restrictions, placed on all of Greater Manchester, to be lifted at the end of August before the area saw a spike which led to it having the highest rates of the virus in the country.

It is now subject to tougher measures than the rest of England, with hospitality venues only allowed to operate as takeaways and ordered to shut by 10pm.

It comes as Boris Johnson warned on Friday that an “inevitable” second wave of coronavirus cases is hitting the UK, fuelling fears of a second national lockdown.

The Prime Minister said there’s “no question” that Britain is seeing a second wave as infection numbers rise across the country, with the R rate now at between 1.1 and 1.4.

Mr Johnson said a second lockdown was the "last thing anybody wants" but that the current measures would need to be kept "under review".

Earlier this week, he said locking down the whole country again would be financially “disastrous” for the UK and refused to rule one out.

But Sweden, where a national lockdown was not enforced, has seen case numbers below most countries in Europe despite not advising the wearing of masks or shutting down bars and restaurants.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Sweden’s two-week total of new cases was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday.

On Friday, the PM said: "On Monday we brought in the measures that we did, the 'rule of six', to really try and restrict what people are doing and to bring in a new buffer - and to make it absolutely clear, the 'rule of six': indoors six maximum, six outdoors maximum.

"But the crucial thing is at the same time to observe the basic rules on social distancing - hands, face, space - that is what everybody has got to do if we want to continue to beat this thing.

"But as we look at this particular curve and what is happening now, clearly we are going to keep everything under review. I don't want to get into a second national lockdown at all, it is the last thing anybody wants.

"I don't want to go into bigger lockdown measures at all, we want to keep schools open and it is fantastic the schools have gone back in the way they have. We want to keep the economy open as far as we possibly can, we want to keep businesses going.

"The only way we can do that is obviously if people follow the guidance."