New stricter lockdown rules are being imposed on parts of the North of England from midnight tonight it has been announced. Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed the plans on Thursday night, addressing media and explaining the reasons for the local lockdowns.
Speaking to the media, Mr Hancock said: “We’re constantly vigilant and we’ve been looking at the data and unfortunately we’ve seen across parts of Northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.
“So today I held a meeting of the Government’s Gold Committee and working with local leaders including for instance Andy Burnham the mayor of Greater Manchester, we’ve decided that we need to action across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.
“So from midnight tonight (Friday) we are banning households meeting up indoors.”
Matt Hancock said “households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules” was a reason for the stricter rules.
Manchester and Yorkshire lockdown MAPPED
Manchester and Yorkshire lockdown MAPPED: Matt Hancock announced the measures this evening
The health secretary told the media: “We take this action with a heavy heart but unfortunately it’s necessary because we’ve seen that households meeting up and a lack of social distancing is one of the causes of this rising rate of coronavirus and we’ll do whatever is necessary to keep the country safe.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Over recent days, there has been a marked change in the picture across Greater Manchester with regard to the spread of Covid-19.
“We have gone from a falling rate of cases in nearly all of our boroughs last week to a rising rate in nine out of 10 affecting communities across a much wider geography. In Rochdale, the one borough where cases have fallen, they are still too high.
“We have always said that we will remain vigilant and be ready to respond quickly should the need arise.
Manchester and Yorkshire lockdown MAPPED: The areas have seen an increase in cases
Manchester and Yorkshire lockdown MAPPED: Matt Hancock tweeted this list of areas
“In line with that approach, I have agreed with the Health Secretary that it is right to act on the precautionary principle and introduce modest measures now to bring down the rate of new infections.
“I ask all Greater Manchester residents – young and old alike – to protect each other by observing these new requirements.
“They will be reviewed weekly; meaning the more we stick to them, the quicker they will be removed.
“This is a place which prides itself on looking out for each other. We now need to be true to that by not acting selfishly and keeping the health of others in mind at all times.”
Where is facing new local lockdown rules?
So far Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are facing local lockdowns, unable to meet with people inside homes for the foreseeable future.
The new restrictions apply to the whole of Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire including Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale and parts of West Yorkshire including Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.
The same restrictions will also apply to Leicester, which saw the first so-called “local lockdown” imposed on June 29.
This comes as Thursday’s update of the rolling seven-day rate of new cases of COVID-19 for every local authority in England showed an uptick in cases.
Manchester and Yorkshire lockdown MAPPED: Warnings had been issued ahead of the rule change
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said the decision to ban households in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire from meeting indoors is the “right” one.
She tweeted: “The UK government is right to act quickly if they think the situation warrants it.
“But this is a sharp reminder that the threat of this virus is still very real. Please abide by the all #FACTS advice and stay safe.”
In Blackburn with Darwen, the rate has risen from 83.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 20 to 89.3 in the seven days to July 27. A total of 133 new cases have been recorded.
Leicester is in second place, where the seven-day rate has fallen from 67.8 to 60.2, with 214 new cases.
Other areas reporting notable week-on-week jumps include:
– Oldham (up from 23.3 to 54.3, with 128 new cases)
– Pendle (up from 27.4 to 42.7, with 39 new cases)
– Trafford (up from 15.2 to 41.0, with 97 new cases)
– Calderdale (up from 20.9 to 33.8, with 71 new cases)
– Swindon (up from 9.0 to 28.8, with 64 new cases)