Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
Lockdown rules in parts of Northern England and Leicester to remain in place
14 August 2020, 14:53
Lockdown measures in parts of the North of England and Leicester are to remain in place following a review by government officials and local authorities.
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it took the decision due to rates of infection either rising or remaining level in many areas since measures were introduced two weeks ago.
The measures - banning people from two or more households from meeting in private indoor areas or gardens - were brought into place to stop a rapidly rising number of new Covid-19 cases.
The areas affected are the whole of Greater Manchester and East Lancashire - excluding Ribble Valley - as well as Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford in West Yorkshire.
Also affected by local restrictions is Leicester, which had strict new rules imposed on it at the end of June and has only recently been allowed to reopen non-essential businesses.
Households in these areas cannot mix - unless they are in a support bubble - for at least another week as local authorities attempt to get the spread of the virus back under control.
The latest data also shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle, while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen.
Announcing the extension of the restrictions, the Government said it will help "protect local residents, and allow more time for the changes to have an effect" and cut transmission among households.
Minister for health, 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.”
Progress will be assessed throughout the weekend and early next week.
Speculation is mounting that extra lockdown measures could be introduced in Oldham following a dramatic spike in the number of new Covid-19 cases - despite the current rules.
At a press conference on Thursday, however, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and deputy mayor Sir Richard Leese dismissed further restrictions this week or next.
Deputy mayor Leese said: "We want to continue with the current restrictions but with more high-profile work on the ground in Oldham to break the chain of transmission.
"We want them to have a discussion with the government about what might be needed further down the line, but not now."
He added that current evidence shows closing pubs and restaurants would have little effect on the current figures due to much of the transmission being between households.
An estimated 28,300 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between 3 and 9 August, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This was the equivalent of about 0.05% of the population, or one in 1,900 individuals.
The estimate is unchanged from the previous week of 27 July to 2 August.