While the government first announced that the UK was going in to full lockdown on 23rd March, restrictions have been slowly easing in the past few weeks.
However, it appears that the path out of lockdown won’t be straightforward, with the news that more cities are going into a localised lockdown seemingly every week. Leicester was the first to go into a local lockdown as a result of a rise in coronavirus cases in the area during June but since then, other major hubs have taken on new restrictions.
Now, many people are wondering if we’re headed for another national lockdown as the government has most recently introduced their tier three system for lockdown. The new rules see areas divided up into ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ risk categories, with differing levels of restrictions on each. This suggests that despite the national restrictions of the rule of six and 10pm curfew, the changes to the UK quarantine list and the introduction of the COVID-19 test and trace app, the government is pushing for localised lockdowns as the way forward.
It’s thought that more cities could be becoming vulnerable to a spike in cases and a local lockdown in the coming months, with conversations even being had around the idea of a circuit-breaker lockdown. As even even with increased safety measures in schools, the influx of children returning to the classroom and students going back to university has seen the country develop a higher rate of transmission over the months.
So which other towns, cities and counties could be at risk of a localised lockdown? And which areas have recently been placed under new lockdown restrictions?
Local lockdown list: which places are in lockdown in UK?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that certain areas across England are now facing new localised lockdown restrictions, in light of sharply rising coronavirus cases in those areas.
The regions now under new restrictions include parts of North-east England, Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, parts of the Midlands and parts of West Yorkshire.
These are the places in lockdown in UK:
- Blackburn with Darwen
- North Tyneside
- South Tyneside
- Caerphilly County
- Rhondda Cynon Taf
- Glasgow City
- East Renfrewshire
- East Dunbartonshire
- West Dunbartonshire
- North Lanarkshire
- South Lanarkshire
Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull received ‘intervention’ and were instructed to go into a localised lockdown beginning on Tuesday September 15. Some schools in the area have closed, households will no longer be able to mix, even in groups smaller than 6, and there has been delays in testing for those who want one. Further to this, it has also been announced that the North-east of England, namely Newcastle, Northumberland, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham, will take on some restrictions to avoid a full lockdown. The new measures, which are thought to include pubs closing earlier and limited inter-household mixing, will be announced on Thursday September 17 with the new changes coming into effect from midnight.
It comes as the area has seen a steep rise in cases of the last few weeks and ministers’ concerns over the prospect of a ‘cancelled’ Christmas for the country. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson told The Sun newspaper, “The only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now.”
The measures mean that different households will now not be able to meet inside homes, or even outside in private gardens. However, many have noted that individual households can still go to the pub – they just can’t meet another household there and socialise with them. You can still meet however if you are in a support bubble.
At the time of the first local lockdown announcement in Leicester, Matt Hancock explained that the swift action has been taken as a result of information gained from contact tracing. He revealed that infections were up as a result of people visiting friends and family in recent weeks. But the regulations drew criticism, with many noting that they was announced just hours before being put into force at midnight the night before, and, right before the Eid celebration, on July 31 when many families and friends normally gather.
Localised lockdown list: which areas are still at risk?
Whether the areas have gone into tier 3 or 2 lockdown or not, there are many areas that are still at risk around the UK and have an ever growing number of coronavirus cases. At the start of the localised lockdown measures, there were 36 towns, cities and counties at risk of local lockdown but now most major areas in the country have taken on new sets of restrictions, a full list of which can be found here from the Met Police.
From the beginning of the pandemic, data has been compiled with cases per 100,000 people to identify areas at high risk of lockdown for a fairer comparison, but these figures don’t take into account the different rates of testing or the differences in age and sex of the local populations. As of October, Northern Ireland has the highest number of cases per 100,000 people since the start of the pandemic with 1,480.7. Scotland had the lowest with 873.2. However, England by far has the highest number of individual cases of coronavirus with 629,211 positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
These are the number of cases per 100,000 people in each region, since the start of the pandemic…
The areas at risk of local lockdown include:
- East Midlands – 1, 173.5
- East of England – 675.5
- London – 820.1
- North East – 1,729.9
- North West – 2,141.2
- South East – 634
- South West – 502.2
- West Midlands – 1,075.5
- Yorkshire and The Humber – 1,635.8
The data is based on testing that occurred from the start of the pandemic up until October 19 but it is updated on a daily basis.
To help the test and trace system during this time, the government has released the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app. With the app, available on the Apple app store and Google Play, living in England and Wales can see the threat level of coronavirus in their area, find out if they need to self isolate and track symptoms.
What are the new lockdown rules in Liverpool?
On October 12, new lockdown rules were announced for some areas of England but Liverpool was the only region to receive tougher restrictions. Under the new ‘three tier system’, areas will be registered as being either ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high risk’, with each category taking on harsher rules the higher the risk.
The latest rules were enforced from Wednesday October 14 in Liverpool, which has been categorised as ‘very high risk’ after 600 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people were reported earlier in October. This was significantly higher than the average for the rest of the country, which sat at 74 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Steve Rotheram, the city’s regional mayor, has said that Liverpool would face the highest level of restrictions being in tier 3 and that there would be a more localised operation of track and trace, but there needed to be more support offered from the government to carry out the plans.
These are the new restrictions in Liverpool:
- You are not allowed to socialise with anybody you don’t live with or haven’t formed a support bubble with. This counts in any indoor environment or private garden and at most outdoor hospitality venues and events.
- It’s no longer permitted to socialise with a group of more than 5 other people at an outdoor space like a park or beach, in the countryside, in a public garden or in a sports venue.
- Pubs and bars will close if they cannot work only as a restaurant. This means that all will have to serve substantial meals and may only serve alcohol with food.
- Gyms and fitness studios, sports facilities, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and all casinos will also close.
- Wedding receptions are not allowed, but ceremonies can go ahead with 15 people present.
- Those in ‘very high-risk’ areas should avoid travelling outside of their local area or entering another ‘very high-risk’ area, if it’s not for work, education, accessing youth services or caring for another person.
- Liverpool residents have been told to avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK and avoid having people outside of Liverpool to stay in the area.
The tier system came into play for the rest of the country on Wednesday as well, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling the new categorisation “the right way forward” and saying that it “can bring down the virus”. He did not, however, rule out the idea of a national second lockdown unlike previously as he said, “I rule out nothing of course in combating the virus, but we are going to do it with the local, the regional approach that can drive down and will drive down the virus, if it is properly implemented.”
The government’s NHS COVID-19 track and trace app has also now been launched, with the health secretary encouraging the population to download it on mass. It’s thought that by using the app, the government will be able to spot spikes in cases and avoid a national second lockdown.
Scotland lockdown: What are the new lockdown rules set by the Scottish government?
From Friday September 9, all pubs and restaurants across central Scotland are closed under new measures. This includes hospitality establishments in the major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, along with all areas in the central strip of the country and be in place until October 25 at the earliest. In other areas of Scotland, pubs and restaurants will be able to stay open but they can only serve alcohol outside.
In the areas of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran, all licensed premises (except hotels) will be forced to close both indoor and outdoor areas. They will still be able to offer takeaway, however. The new regulations extend beyond pubs and restaurants to also include snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls. Cafes and other eateries that don’t serve alcohol will be allowed to stay open, but only until 6pm. While indoor group exercise is also now cancelled for all those over 18, but gyms will also stay open for the time being to allow for personal exercise. People in the affected areas have also been asked to avoid public transport.
The guidelines aim to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases across the country as Scotland reported more than 1,000 daily cases for the time. But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who announced the plans, has previously expressed how the guidelines by no means signify a return to the original restrictions that Scotland saw earlier in the year.
Can you mix households in Scotland?
In Scotland, different households are not allowed to mix indoors unless they are an extended household, otherwise known as a support bubble. These can only be formed between a person who lives alone or a single person with a child under 18 and another household of any size. It can also be formed between a couple who do not live together and their children, under the new guidance for Scotland updated on October 6. The rules on meeting indoors in Scotland only apply to social visits however, as someone can enter another household to provide care, child support to deliver shopping to a vulnerable individual. Tradespeople carrying out work in home are also exempt from these restrictions.
Outside, those in Scotland are able to meet people in different households. But it must be in a garden or public space, in groups of up to 6 people and no more than 2 different households. Those mixing are also expected to stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in their support bubble or household.
So while residents in Scotland are allowed to mix households for the most part, it’s still under strict conditions and social distancing guidelines.
Is London going into lockdown?
At the moment, London is in the ‘high’ risk tier, so it sits in tier 2 of the Government’s three tier system. This means that national restrictions apply so pubs and restaurants close at 10pm, but now mixing households with anyone outside of your own or your support bubble is not allowed. Travel is also limited and if residents do need to travel, they should consider doing so either by walking or cycling.
Upon the prime minister making his announcement, a spokesman for Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “The virus is now spreading very quickly in every corner of London. The number of cases is rapidly increasing and indicators we look at are moving in the wrong direction.”
Wales lockdown: Which Welsh counties are going into lockdown?
Caerphilly County and Rhondda Cynon Taf went into lockdown earlier in September, following a significant rise in cases. The restrictions are significantly stricter than elsewhere in Wales, with people not allowed to enter or leave the boroughs without a reasonable excuse, everyone over the age of 11 has to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces and people can only meet outdoors for the time being. Households are also not allowed to mix, with residents unable to meet members of their extended household indoors or form an extended household – also known as a ‘support bubble’.
On September 21, it was announced by the health minister for Wales that following another surge in cases in other areas of Wales, more regions would be taking on local lockdown rules. From 6pm on Tuesday September 22, Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Newport will have the same restrictions as the other restricted areas. All pubs will be required to close by 11pm as well, a rule that’s now also been extended to Caerphilly County as well.
The Health Minister for Wales, Vaughan Gething confirmed that it would take two weeks for the new measures to have a positive effect. Speaking about the latest changes, he said, “We have seen a worrying and rapid rise in cases in four other south Wales council areas – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport. In many cases, this is linked to people socialising indoors without social distancing. We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading. We need to take action to control and, ultimately, reduce its spread and protect people’s health. It’s always a difficult decision to introduce restrictions but coronavirus has not gone away – it is still circulating in communities across Wales and, as we are seeing in parts of south Wales, small clusters can quickly cause real issues in local communities.
“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”
North-East England: Are Northumberland and Newcastle going into lockdown?
The North-east of England, including the areas of Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham have taken on more social restrictions as of midnight on Thursday September 17 in order to avoid a full localised lockdown, like that seen in places such as Leicester. This means that while the hospitality industry will stay open, there will be restrictions on opening times and people will be encouraged not to mix with other households at any point either inside or outside the home. Public transport will also go back to being for only ‘essential travel’.
Nick Forbes, Newcastle City Council leader, has said that the changes are being put in place to “prevent another full lockdown” and said that the measures being put in place were about “re-introducing social distancing where the evidence says it is slipping. That way we will avoid a full lockdown.”
The tougher measures are predicted to impact 2 million people, as a rule on households not mixing now comes with a maximum £6,400 fine for those caught breaking it multiple times. But the move to make the ban into law has been met with criticism as it’s been described as unclear. According to reporting by the BBC, Nick Forbes underlined how the confusion over the rules wouldn’t be helpful for keeping the guidelines in the community.
He said, “I’m not disputing that they need to act quickly but one of the things that undermines this is the principle of community consent,”
“The sense that we’re all collectively buying into these measures because we can see that they protect us all – is if there’s a gap between what’s announced in headlines and the details that people can understand.
“What that does is sow confusion, it creates doubt, it creates uncertainty.”
Leeds lockdown: Is Leeds going into lockdown?
Leeds, along with Middlesbrough, Corby, Kettering and South Tyneside, have all been added to the government’s ‘watch list’ following a rise in cases in the area. This means that although there could be restrictions in the coming weeks, the city is currently not under any lockdown restrictions.
For the week beginning August 31 the infection rate was 47.3 per 100,000, but in the last week it’s believed to have risen to 69.7.
Those in the city have been encouraged to following national guidelines by wearing face masks in indoor public spaces, take other means of transport – such as a bike or walking – where possible and keep a 2-meter distance where possible.
Leicester lockdown update: Is Leicester still in lockdown?
While restrictions on gathering in homes and gardens will remain in place for now, Leicester’s localised lockdown is slowly starting to be lifted. According to advice issued by the government in August, bars and restaurants, hotels, cinemas, theatres, hair salons, barbers, outdoor gyms and all other non-essential shops are now allowed to re-open. After September 15, other businesses will also be allowed to reopen.
These will include:
- Skating rinks and bowling alleys
- Indoor play areas, including soft play areas
- Exhibition centres and conference halls for external attendees
- Spaces for indoor performances only
Close contact beauty services, which include treatments on the face like eyebrow threading, and weddings will also be allowed to go ahead once again.
The latest review took place on September and it was decided that restrictions on the city would stay in place, but the next review is due to take place on September 24.
Greater Manchester lockdown: Is Manchester still in lockdown?
Since July 30, Manchester has been under a localised lockdown, following a rise in positive cases of coronavirus. After the review on Wednesday September 2, it was announced that some areas of the region would come out of lockdown but following a government U-turn, Bolton and Trafford would stay under the restrictions.
For the moment, many of the areas in Greater Manchester are still under a local lockdown.
It came after Matt Hancock announced that there had been a “significant change” in the levels of coronavirus infection over the just a few days.
Those living in Wigan and Stockport are under the national guidance and can see others outside their own household, while people in Manchester, Trafford, Salford, Tameside, Rochdale and Bury are not allowed to mix with others outside their own households.
Following a rise in cases, Oldham and Bolton are experiencing the strictest lockdown in the north of England. Residents have been informed that they are not allowed to mix with households outside their own, either outside or inside. They also have to avoid using public transport wherever possible.
On September 8, it was also announced that those living in Bolton would be subjected to even tighter restrictions, amid a nationwide consideration of the lockdown rules. Hospitality venues will also now only be allowed to offer takeaways and all must close between 10pm and 5am.
The MP for Bolton, Chris Green said that he was “disappointed” by the lack of clarity from the government on the decision to keep Bolton on lockdown “because of the impact this will have on people’s lives.”
Stoke on Trent lockdown: is the city going into lockdown?
Following a steep rise in the number of positive coronavirus cases in Stoke on Trent, the city was looking to be the next major hub to go into lockdown back in August. But after a steady decline in cases per 100,000 people since the area introduced some increased social distancing restrictions, Stoke on Trent has moved further down the government’s watchlist and now has just over 25 cases per 100,000 people according to data for the week beginning August 31.
Speaking about the area’s positive reception to the measures, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he was “very grateful” to those living in Stoke on Trent for “responding as positively as they did” and the full lockdown was avoided as “Stoke on Trent got in there fast and acted.”
This included faith leaders acting quickly and closing down two major places of worship for two weeks and the local government identifying areas with a concentrated number of cases.
Blackburn local lockdown: Is the town in lockdown?
Blackburn with Darwen currently has the sixth highest number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in England with 61.8, following the latest report. This means that the area is still facing lockdown restrictions and those in the area should limit social contact between friends and family. However, the numbers have drastically decreased from last month where at one point the area had the most number of cases in the UK. It’s thought that this was the result of delaying the reopening of some businesses, which opened elsewhere in the country on August 15.
Bradford local lockdown: Is Bradford in lockdown?
Bradford is still under restrictions, as West Yorkshire remains in a localised lockdown.
Bradford council have posted an explainer on what people in the area now can and cannot do.
Rochdale local lockdown: Is Rochdale going into lockdown?
Rochdale was previously fourth on the list of worst-hit areas for virus infections, but has dropped in cases over the past few months. However, being in Greater Manchester, it’s still under new restrictions from the government and so residents can’t meet up with people inside or outside their homes.
Oldham lockdown: Is Oldham still in lockdown?
Oldham in Manchester was one of the first areas to be put under new coronavirus guidance, with quickly rising Covid-19 cases, before many other parts of the North of England followed suit. This means that those living in Oldham are now not permitted to meet up indoors or outdoors, and must maintain a social distance.
Birmingham lockdown: What are the rules in Birmingham?
As one of the biggest cities in the Midlands, Birmingham went into lockdown in September amid a surge in cases in the area. Sandwell and Solihull, two of the surrounding areas, are also included in the new restrictions which prohibit households mixing inside or outside and some schools closing.
It has also been reported by BirminghamLive that NHS and council staff are conducting tests door-to-door in coronavirus hotspots around the city from Monday September 4, in order to reach those who might not be able to get one elsewhere.
The rate of infection has almost doubled in Birmingham in the last week, rising to 90.3 cases per 100,000 people.
But in Birmingham, you are still allowed to:
- Visit the shops, restaurants and other venues, in groups of no more than six people.
- Go to work if you cannot work from home.
- Children are allowed to continue to go to school, even though some institutions have taken their classes online.
- Use public transport, following all guidelines around face coverings and social distancing
The MP for Birmingham, Andy Street said over the weekend, “We will use these restrictions, look at how the numbers move, and if they are not sufficient, we might have to go further,” Andy Street said on Sunday.
Swindon lockdown: Is Swindon going into lockdown?
Although currently not in lockdown, there is some speculation as to whether Swindon could be the first city in the south of England to go back into lockdown. Swindon has been struggling with a rise in cases and has become the city with the sixth highest number of coronavirus cases, reaching 44.1 per 100,000 for the week ending August 9.
However, the local council are insisting that the outbreak is under control and there is currently no need for a localised lockdown.
Do you live in any of the localised lockdown areas?