Pendle and Oldham 'heading for stricter lockdown' as coronavirus infection rate jumps

11 August 2020, 19:19

Leaders in Oldham have warned of tough new restrictions if the infection rate continues to rise
Leaders in Oldham have warned of tough new restrictions if the infection rate continues to rise. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Leaders in Pendle and Oldham have warned residents they could be facing even stricter local lockdown measures if the infection rate continues to rise.

Authorities in both areas raised the alarm on Tuesday afternoon after new data showed rates have continued to increase.

They warned residents that non-essential business may have to close once again in order to push down the number of new cases.

Pendle in Lancashire and Oldham in Greater Manchester were among the parts of the country where additional measures stopping people from meeting others at home or in indoor venues were brought in at the end of July.

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In Pendle, the council urged everyone to have a test, even if they were not showing Covid-19 symptoms, after the area reported the highest number of cases in the country.

Council leader Mohammed Iqbal said: "Coronavirus is spreading between households and within households so it's really important that everyone follows these local measures.

"If we don't, we'll be heading for much stricter measures so please do all you can now to stop the virus spreading further.

"Stick to your household bubbles and do not have visitors to your home or visit people at their home."

Around 44.5 per 100,000 people were infected with Covid-19 in the seven days to 31 July - but the infection rate leaped to 96.6 in the seven days to 7 August.

Councillor Nadeem Ahmed said: "We understand it's hard for young people who may feel isolated from their friends. "We're appealing to you to follow these measures for a while longer so that the virus isn't passed on to other members of your household who may be more vulnerable than you."

Meanwhile in Oldham, the council has begun ramping up its campaign to alert residents to the latest infection rate rise.

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Leaders warned the Greater Manchester borough could face a local lockdown similar to the one imposed in Leicester, with figures showing 255 new cases in the week ending 7 August, compared with 137 cases the week before.

Councillor Arooj Shah, deputy leader of Oldham Council, said: "We know people in Oldham have, on the whole, been behaving responsibly and abiding by the coronavirus restrictions.

"But coronavirus has not gone away - and rates are now rising. To avoid a second lockdown, there is no time to lose.

"We need everyone to act now and make changes to the way they live, to prevent strict lockdown restrictions being implemented in the coming days or weeks.

"Figures are showing us that cases are rising here in Oldham in all areas, in all age groups, and in all communities.

"We are all at risk of this terrible virus and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves, our friends and wider society by obeying this tougher guidance and acting responsibly."