ONE million Northerners will be lifted out of lockdown from next Wednesday, it was confirmed tonight.
The so-called 'sex ban' will be over for people in Trafford, Bolton, Stockport, Burnley, Hyndburn and some parts of other areas after the Government decided they could lift measures.
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Where are restrictions being lifted?
- Parts of Bradford excluding Bradford city and Keighley town
- Parts of Calderdale excluding Halifax
- Parts of Kirklees excluding Dewsbury and Batley
People who don't live together will finally be able to spend the night together.
And it will mean residents will finally be able to visit friends and family in their homes or gardens again – after nearly a month of extra rules to stop the spread of the virus.
Bowling alleys and indoor play areas, will also be permitted to re-open in the areas listed, bringing these areas in line with the rest of the country.
Data shows cases per 100,000 decreased during the week ending 20 August in Burnley, where cases have more than halved from 52 to 24.6, and cases in Bolton and Stockport fell from 25.6 to 18.9, and 23 to 15.1 respectively, and Trafford fell from 27.1 to 17.8.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We brought in measures to protect people in these parts of Northern England, and I want to thank residents who have worked so hard to get on top of this virus.
“We’re seeing the positive results of our local approach, and are able to bring in increasingly targeted measures.
“It is vital we can maintain this good progress."
Lancashire's Director of Public Health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi warned locals although the changes were coming, people must remain on their guard.
He said: "People living in Burnley and Hyndburn will be pleased that government has lifted the additional restrictions in their areas, but this should not lead to complacency."
But a huge row broke out in Trafford after Labour politicians said the Government went against their wishes to keep the area under restrictions for longer to try and drive down infections further.
The rate of infections in Trafford is around 22 per 100,000, double the national average.
Trafford Labour said in a statement today: "It is apparent that for all of their claims of working in collaboration with local authorities, the Government has decided to overrule the Council and lift restrictions in Trafford. We understand this will be announced today."
They claimed that all boroughs in the area had seen covid cases confirmed in the last week.
But they stressed: "We will work over the coming days to lift the restrictions safely from next week and the safety of our residents will remain our top priority."
Trafford Council said they wanted another week or two to make sure the level of infection was driven right down, but they claim this was refused and national politicians insisted on lifting the ban.
Councillor Andrew Western, Labour leader of Trafford Council, said: "It is apparent that for all of their claims of working in collaboration with local authorities, the Government has decided to overrule the council and lift restrictions in Trafford.
"This action by Government makes a mockery of the claims of locally led decision making and once again shows that local government is being ignored in spite of being on the front line of this crisis."
It's not yet clear if other areas will also be lifted out of lockdown in Manchester today.
The Government is set to confirm any changes to local lockdowns this afternoon.
However, it's not good news for everyone in Manchester this weekend. Ahead of the Bank Holiday police in the city centre said they would be banning people boozing in local parks and other open spaces as part of measures to control coronavirus.
Councillors said it was "premature" to be lifting the rules the week before kids go back to school – and ahead of the August bank holiday.
Already cops have had to shut down several raves in the city which could have contributed to the growing infection rate.
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