LANCASHIRE, Warrington, Halton and Merseyside have been slapped with new Covid-19 restrictions – with the exception of Blackpool and Greater Manchester.
The total number of people across the UK now in lockdown, including in England's North East, has spiralled to more than ten million.
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What areas are affected?
In Lancashire, Preston, Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle already have restrictions in place.
But the government has now expanded measures to cover the entire county apart from Blackpool.
New lockdown restrictions will come into force on Tuesday in Merseyside, Warrington, Halton, and Lancashire, excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester, the Government announced Friday, September 18.
The restrictions have been revealed a day after two million people in England's North East went into lockdown.
What are the lockdown rules?
Lancashire's local lockdown forbids households from mixing in any setting in all of the county's boroughs apart from parts of the seaside resort of Blackpool.
Pubs and restaurants in Lancashire, Warrington, Halton and Merseyside will have to close at 10pm from Tuesday September 22.
People will also not be allowed to meet with anyone who is outside their household or support bubble in those areas as well as Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Oadby and Wigston.
But the new rules do not apply to people in Blackpool and Greater Manchester.
- Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens
- Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
- Restaurants, pubs, cinemas and other leisure and entertainment venues must shut between 10pm-5am
- People are also advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
- Plus, residents are being urged to avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson told BBC Breakfast he would welcome action in Merseyside.
Describing the new curbs as "unfortunate", he added, "I am worried that, if we don't tackle the measures now, then we will head towards the winter and Christmas period where we could be in a real difficult position, not just here but across the country."
But Neil Shaw, chief executive of Rossendale Borough Council tweeted: "To be clear, no leader in Rossendale has called for the introduction of tighter restrictions.
"The Govt may impose these… but we are making the case why they shouldn't."
The new rules for Lancashire, Merseyside, Warrington and Halton
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton.”
Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire:
- no socialising
- table sevice
- 10pm ban
- Transport essential only
- No sport (from Tuesday Sept 22)
Wolverhampton and Oadby & Wigston:
– no socialising (Tuesday Sept 22)
Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale:
– no socialising (Tuesday Sept 22)
The Financial Times reported that leading scientists advising the UK Government have proposed a two-week national lockdown in October to tackle the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
A second national lockdown has not been ruled out but the "great hope" is that people will heed current advice to help manage a "very serious" situation, the Health Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock said a national lockdown was the "last line of defence" as he responded to reports that ministers are considering further national measures, even for just a two-week period, such as imposing a curfew on bars and restaurants.
It comes as ministers come under fire over the shambolic NHS Test and Trace system, which has seen up to four times the number of people trying to book a test as the number of tests available.
Experts have said that without effective testing and tracing, it will be much harder to control the spread of the virus and pinpoint larger outbreaks.
When does the local lockdown start?
New lockdown restrictions will come into force on Tuesday, September 22 in Merseyside, Warrington, Halton, and Lancashire, excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester, the Government said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton.
"I know these restrictions will make every-day life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission.
"I urge local people to isolate and get a test if you have symptoms, follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace, and always remember 'hands, face, space'."
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