THE Government is poised to slash the number of people who are allowed to gather indoors after the number of coronavirus cases have soared for the past two days.
People in Bolton will not be allowed to socialise with those from other households after coronavirus restrictions were imposed, in the latest government move to tackle the recent spike in cases.
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The UK has seen the number of reported coronavirus cases reach nearly 3,000 each day for the past two days.
Why is Bolton having restrictions imposed?
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a raft of new lockdown restrictions for the Northern town on September 8 after cases spiralled to the highest rate in the country at 120 per 100,000 in the last week.
Hospitality businesses will only be able to sell takeaways and have to close between 10pm and 5pm to stop the spread of the virus even further.
And rules preventing households from meeting in public will also be enshrined in law, meaning people will face £100 fines for breaking rules.
He said today in the House of Commons: "We all have a part to play.
"Together we can tackle this, so long as we remember our actions today are consequences tomorrow.
"Each and every citizen has a responsibility to follow social distancing.
"This virus remains with us and remains a threat."
It's the first town to face such restrictions where businesses have been ordered to shut again since the national lockdown.
In Leicester they were forced to stay closed following a spike in cases over the summer.
When will an announcement on household gatherings be made?
An announcement on meetings indoors is expected to be made on September 9.
Sources said there would be a "toughening up" of the rules to stop the spread as scientists feared it was already spreading across the country.
The current rules mean no more than 30 people can meet inside, but it could be cut down to as low as six.
The final decisions are still being made and Boris Johnson is holding a Cabinet meeting on the morning of September 8.
There were 2,988 new cases reported on Sunday, September 6, up from 1,813 on Saturday.
And 2,948 cases were recorded on Monday too, leading scientists to believe a second spike is underway.
England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said a surge in cases in the 17 to 21 age group has now become increasingly worrying – as they may then go on to pass the virus on to their parents, and grandparents.
This could see a huge spike in the current death rate as older people are less likely to be able to fight it.
How many households can meet outdoors?
The latest government guidelines say people should only meet up outdoors in a group of no more than two households or in a group of up to six people from different households.
Anyone in your support bubble counts as one household.
How many households can meet indoors?
When meeting friends and family, even in venues like restaurants, pubs, places of worship or community centres the advice is only meet indoors in groups up to two households – this includes when dining out or going to the pub.
Once again, anyone in your support bubble counts as one household.
The advice adds: "Clubs or groups can begin to meet again in Covid-19 secure venues.
"However, you should take care to remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or is not in your support bubble.
"You should also limit social interaction with anyone outside of these formal activities even if you see other people you know.
"Venues should ensure they comply with Covid-19 secure guidelines."
It is currently against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces), or in a public outdoor space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with Covid-19 secure guidance.
Participation in an illegal gathering could be subject to a £100 fine, doubling on each subsequent offence up to £3,200.
Shopping, grabbing takeaway from a restaurant, filling up at a petrol station, playing tennis, and going camping pose low infection risks, according to the list.
Other high-risk activities include attending a large religious service, working out at the gym, eating at a buffet, and attending a concert – which is still banned in the UK.
People in the UK have been advised not to shake hands and instead many people are now bumping elbows as a greeting.
Can I share a car with someone who is not from my household?
You are allowed to travel to meet people irrespective of distance.
You may use public transport but alternatives such as cycling, walking or driving should be considered.
This guidance applies to England.
You should take particular care if you are travelling to an area that is experiencing a local coronavirus outbreak and where local lockdown measures have been imposed – you should avoid doing so if possible.
You should not travel with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practice social distancing, for example by cycling.
The advice in Wales is similar to England's but adds the advice "stay as far apart as possible within the car and keep windows open".
In Scotland the advice is slightly different.
Scotland recommends that you should only really travel in a car with members of your own household but it also recognises that this might not always be possible.
It makes a number of recommendations:
- share the transport with the same people each time
- keep to small groups of people at any one time
- maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open if possible
- ask everyone to wear face-coverings
- clean your hands before and after your journey
- if the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch.
How many people can attend a funeral?
You can meet in larger groups for weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies and services, community activities and support groups – which should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to Covid-19 secure guidelines.
Activities in the moderate-high risk category are hugging or shaking hands with a friend, catching a flight, attending a wedding or funeral, or getting your hair done.
It is otherwise against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes, which includes gardens and other outdoor spaces.
There are a number of guidelines also in place if you are meeting up with a large group of people.
The government recommends:
- limit the time you spend interacting with people from outside your household or support bubble to the activity which you are partaking in
- limit the number of different activities which you partake in succession to reduce the potential chain of transmission
- group size should be limited to the minimum which allows the activity to take place
- maintain high standards of hand hygiene
- if organising an activity, you should carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment to identify actions which could minimise the risk of transmission. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety.
- you are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet
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