People in Bolton will not be allowed to socialise with those from other households after coronavirus restrictions were tightened in the town.
Restaurants will also be restricted to takeaway only and venues will have to close from 10pm to 5am under the measures.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the tighter restrictions in a statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday.
He said: “Unfortunately after improving for several weeks, we’ve seen a very significant rise in cases in Bolton. Bolton is up to 120 cases per 100,000 of population, the highest case rate in the country and I’m publishing the data behind the decisions that we’ve taken.”
The UK government considers imposing quarantine measures on arrivals from other countries when their weekly rate of new cases rises above 20 per 100,000 people.
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The health secretary said the rise in cases in Bolton is “partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s”.
He added: “We know this from contact tracing.
“And through our contacting tracing system we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly.”
Mr Hancock added that visitor restrictions will be put in place in care homes in Bolton as part of the tightened measures.
He told MPs: “We’re also putting in place extra measures including visitor restrictions to restrict the spread of virus into care homes and hospitals in Bolton and I want to thank the leadership of Bolton Council who are doing an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.”
In other coronavirus developments:
- It is understood that officials are considering reducing the number of people who can gather indoors in England. The current limit is 30 but it could be cut as a result of the current spike in cases
- England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said there has been a rise in coronavirus cases because people have “relaxed too much”
- Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy for the global COVID-19 response, said a second wave “is coming”
- Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases is “concerning” and it is essential that people follow the government guidelines
- Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said a local coronavirus lockdown is being imposed in Caerphilly because there is evidence of “community transmission” in the area
- Restrictions on household visits across western parts of Scotland have been extended for a further week and expanded to also include East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire
- There were a further 2,948 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Monday, following the 2,988 reported on Sunday, which was the largest daily figure since May
- Just over 57,400 deaths involving COVID-19 have now been registered in the UK, according to figures from official data sources
- Aviation industry leaders have urged the government to commit to a coronavirus testing regime for international arrivals, after a new regional approach to England’s quarantine policy was announced
Mr Hancock added: “And I want to say this to everybody directly living in Bolton – I know how anxious this can be, and I know the impact that these measures will have.
“We’re asking you to take a step back at a time when we all just want to get on with our lives and what we love and back to normal. But we need to take this crucial step to keep the virus at bay.
“Because as we’ve seen elsewhere, if we act early and control the virus then we can save lives.”
The health secretary continued: “Now I know social distancing can be hard, and how it can be extra-tough for students who will be starting university – but please, stick with it and play your part in getting this virus under control.”
A further eight people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,619, NHS England said on Tuesday.
The patients were aged between 43 and 92 and all had known underlying health conditions.
The dates of the deaths were between 5 September and 7 September.
Another three deaths were reported with no positive COVID-19 test result.
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