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Coronavirus lockdown: Government imposes strict restrictions in North of England
31 July 2020, 05:57
New restrictions have been announced to help stop the spread of coronavirus across Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire and east Lancashire.
Announced on Thursday evening the restrictions impact on a number of areas across the North of England.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people failing to stick to social distancing rules was a reason for the stricter rules, announced late on Thursday evening, and that the move was in order to "keep the country safe".
But what restrictions have been imposed and what areas are affected?
What has the Government announced?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Thursday said that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire will be banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight.
Which areas are affected?
The new restrictions apply to the whole of Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire including Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale as well as Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
The same restrictions will also apply to Leicester, which saw the first so-called "local lockdown" imposed on June 29.
What does this mean for the people living there?
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the new measures will mean people in these areas will not be permitted to mix with other households outside those in their support bubbles in private homes or gardens.
Households will be able to go to bars, pubs and other hospitality venues but two households should not go together, the department added.
The DHSC said that restrictions currently in place in Blackburn which saw indoor swimming pools, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports facilities remaining closed will continue.
Why is this being done?
In a series of Tweets Mr Hancock said that there had been an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.
He said that this was due to "households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules" and the new rules were being put in place in order to "keep the country safe".
How will the restrictions be enforced?
The Government said it will sign new regulations to make the changes "legally enforceable" and will give local authorities and police forces the powers to enforce these restrictions.
How fast is the virus spreading?
According to the most recent figures from Public Health England (PHE) the rate of infection is increasing across 13 of the 19 local authorities in the areas where the new measures are being imposed.
In Blackburn with Darwen, the rate has risen from 83.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 20 to 89.3 in the seven days to July 27. A total of 133 new cases have been recorded.
Leicester has the second-highest seven-day rate despite it falling from 67.8 per 100,000 people to 60.2 over the same period, with 214 new cases.
Over the same period the rate has also increased in Manchester, Burnley, Pendle, Bradford, Calderdale, Oldham, Bury, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan, but fell in Hyndburn, Rossendale, Kirklees, Bolton and Rochdale.
Rochdale, Oldham, Blackburn and Pendle have been on a PHE watchlist as an "area of concern" after elevated rates of infection.
What is happening in Leicester?
The DHSC said that from Monday restaurants, cafes, bars and hairdressers in Leicester can open again in line with the easing of restrictions across the rest of the country on July 4.
Leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed but cinemas and museums will open and religious ceremonies will be able to take place, it added.
The department said that all local restrictions currently in place in the neighbouring borough of Oadby and Wigston will end.
But Mr Hancock said that the restrictions on social gatherings imposed on Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire would also apply to the city of Leicester.