New Covid-19 rules for more parts of North and Midlands

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image captionPeople will not be able to socialise with others in their homes or gardens

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Tighter restrictions will come into force in Lancashire, Merseyside, parts of the Midlands and West Yorkshire after significant increases in Covid-19 cases, the government has said.

The new rules ban separate households from meeting each other at home or in private gardens.

Pubs and restaurants must also shut early in parts of Lancashire and Merseyside.

The measures will come into force from Tuesday.

On Friday, the UK recorded a further 4,322 confirmed cases of coronavirus – the first time the daily total of positive tests has exceeded 4,000 since 8 May.

Another 27 deaths were also reported within 28 days of a positive test.

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Which areas do the rules cover?

Nearly 4.7 million people will be affected by the .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}new rules.

The measures to curb the spread of the virus have been introduced across parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire.

This includes Lancashire (excluding Blackpool), Merseyside and the Cheshire boroughs of Warrington and Halton.

New restrictions are also being put in place in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire, and all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

Some areas of West Yorkshire had already been subject to restrictions implemented at the start of August but they were eased. They are now subject to these new rules.

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What are the new rules?

Woman in front of sign, which reads "Don't mix with other households"image copyrightReuters
image captionThe new Covid-19 measures will come into force from Tuesday

Residents are not allowed to socialise in their homes or private gardens in:

  • Lancashire (excluding Blackpool)
  • Merseyside, Warrington and Halton
  • Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston
  • Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale

Pubs must shut between 22:00 and 05:00 and offer table service only in:

  • Lancashire (excluding Blackpool),
  • Merseyside, Warrington and Halton

Residents are asked only to use public transport for “essential purposes” in:

  • Lancashire (excluding Blackpool)
  • Merseyside, Warrington and Halton

Residents are asked to avoid attending amateur or semi-professional sports events as spectators:

  • Lancashire (excluding Blackpool)
  • Merseyside, Warrington and Halton

Support bubbles will not be affected by the new rules.

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Why have the new restrictions been introduced?

Analysis – By Daniel Wainwright, BBC England Data Unit

We have been used to seeing Blackburn with Darwen towards the top of the list of areas with high rates of new coronavirus infections for some time, along with other parts of east Lancashire.

Now the rules affect the whole county apart from Blackpool.

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Based on the latest data published by the government for the week to 14 September, Blackpool, with 32 cases per 100,000 people, is towards the lower end for new infections across the county, but still higher than Lancaster and Ribble Valley, which are at 24 and 23 per 100,000.

Infection rates in Lancashire are highest in Hyndburn (144 per 100,000) and Preston (135 per 100,000)

Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire recorded 71 cases, up from 42 the previous week.

Wolverhampton’s appearance in the lockdown list comes after neighbouring Sandwell, itself a neighbour of Birmingham, saw households told to stop meeting.

It recorded 52 cases per 100,000, up from just 10 per 100,000 in the last week of August.

Calderdale’s rate was the same, but the other areas of West Yorkshire affected – Bradford and Kirklees, recorded 71 and 88 per 100,000 respectively.

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How have these areas reacted?

A driver drops a test for a coronavirus into a box in Boltonimage copyrightPA Media
image captionThere have been delays getting tests for people across the country

The mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said these restrictions would be “difficult for us all” but “we must do everything we can to curb rising infection rates and protect our families”.

Warrington Borough Council leader Russ Bowden urged “local people to help us by not seeking to take advantage of ‘one more big night out’ this weekend” before the new measures are introduced on Tuesday.

While Lancashire County Council’s director of public health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi said “don’t go flocking to Blackpool thinking the rules don’t apply”.

Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods, from Lancashire Police, added “Going to Blackpool in large numbers is not protecting yourself”.

Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor said “frequent changes” in restrictions could impact effectiveness and also people’s mental health.

He said Kirklees’ Outbreak Control Board had written to the government to ask them to “reconsider this decision”.

While the leader of Wolverhampton council welcomed the area’s new restrictions, saying: “We need to break this cycle.”

Neighbouring Sandwell, Birmingham and Solihull have already had similar restrictions introduced.

Councillor Ian Brookfield said: “If we don’t break the cycle we’ll end up like many other parts of the country who’ve now got curfews [and the] hospitality sector closing down.”

What restrictions are already in place?

Most parts of Greater Manchester are already subject to restrictions, with Bolton – which has the highest number of cases in the country – bringing in measures restricting restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to takeaway only, and requiring all hospitality venues to close at 22:00.

The government said these tightened restrictions in parts of Greater Manchester would continue.

Restrictions were brought in overnight across large parts of north-east England, affecting almost two million people.
The government introduced the rule of six across England on Monday meanwhile it rejected a request by Leeds City Council for a curfew on pubs and bars to curb the spread of Covid-19.

What are the other key developments?

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How have you been affected by the restrictions so far? What concerns do you have about the new rules?

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