Extra lockdown restrictions have been imposed in large areas of northern England as part of “immediate action” to keep people safe, Matt Hancock has said.
People from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are banned from meeting each other indoors.
The rules apply in:
- Greater Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
The rule also applies to Leicester which has already been under separate restrictions for a number of weeks.
The health secretary said “households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules” was a reason for the stricter rules.
He 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.”
There was some confusion over what the new rules actually mean and Andy Burnham the mayor of Greater Manchester, tweeted his understanding of them as of 11pm Thursday.
He also added “by not acting selfishly” the measures could be removed more quickly.
He added: “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.
MP for Oldham, in Greater Manchester, and shadow transport minister Jim McMahon said there needs to be more clarity over what the government is doing to support those in areas affected by new lockdown restrictions.
He tweeted: “On the face of it, for Oldham borough residents this is the same restriction announced already this week, replicated in further areas.
“As well as publishing a list, I’m sure all of us would welcome the Government adding what more they will do to support us, jobs and our economy.”