While many areas of the UK are finally enjoying some new freedoms following the coronavirus outbreak, others have seen spiking coronavirus cases, putting them at risk of local lockdown. As such, some new lockdown areas, with new lockdown restrictions, have been announced. So which areas of the UK are now in lockdown?
Yesterday evening, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that parts of Northern England will have new coronavirus guidelines put into place, as a result of the “increasing rates of transmissions” of the virus there.
He revealed that these regions will require immediate restrictions, in order to stop cases from spiking too much higher.
According to Mr Hancock, cases have been increasing as a result of people visiting friends and family without observing social distancing. He said, “The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing.”
So where are the new lockdown areas in the North of England?
New lockdown areas in the UK
Matt Hancock explained, “Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire & East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe.”
In these areas, residents will now not be allowed to meet people outside of their household inside or outside, unless they are in their support bubble.
He continued, explaining to BBC Breakfast that “targeted action” has been based on information gleaned from contact tracing. According to the contract tracing, he said, “most of the transmission is happening between households visiting each other, and people visiting relatives and friends”.
Lockdown in Greater Manchester
On the government website, it has been explained that the following areas will be placed under the new restrictions in Greater Manchester:
- City of Manchester
Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham has defended the new rules, and warned residents that it is important to stick to them closely, in order to avoid any more restrictions.
He said, “I think people just need to be sensible about this. We have agreed to this because it doesn’t massively disrupt people’s lives.
“It is a modest change that if we make now we will take away the need for a much more severe lockdown. That is why I am doing everything I can to avoid that.”
He also hinted that some pubs in the area are not sticking to social distancing measures.
Andy continued, “There will need to be enforcement and I am particularly concerned about some of our licensed premises.
“There are clear requirements for what we must do and we have evidence that some of them are not following that guidance.”
Lockdown in West Yorkshire
The areas subject to the new lockdown rules in Yorkshire are:
Rates of coronavirus infections have been rising rapidly in Calderdale, as one example. In the seven days up to the 27th July, the rate of cases in the area has gone up from 20.9 to 33.8, with 71 new cases.
And, just two days ago, Kirklees council explained that “Our COVID-19 infection rates are much higher than the national average.”
Leader of Bradford Council, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, commented on the new measures, saying that she hopes taking these measures will reduce the need for any further, tighter restrictions.
She said, “Restricting businesses and stopping people gathering together is not something anyone wants to see happen but like many areas in the North of England, we’re at a critical moment in our District’s response to Covid-19. We hope that by taking these precautions we can prevent the introduction of much tougher lockdown measures.
“I want to thank the people of the Bradford district for their patience and forbearance. We’re really proud of the way so many people in our district are working together to beat the virus. We know that these measures will be massively inconvenient and disruptive for everyone, and especially distressing for people celebrating Eid, but we need everyone to work together so we can get the infection rates down and these measures lifted as soon as possible.”
Lockdown in East Lancashire
The areas that are subject to the new restrictions in Lancashire include:
- Blackburn with Darwen
In both Blackburn with Darwen, and Bradford in Yorkshire (above), part of the restrictions include selected businesses remaining closed. In these two areas, indoor gyms, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor sports courts and facilities, and indoor swimming pools are mandated to remain closed until further notice, by law.
Angie Ridgwell, Chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, noted that “it is really important that everyone is these areas abide by these instructions”.
She explained, “The sooner coronavirus infections reduce, the sooner this restriction will be lifted.”
New guidelines for lockdown in Northern England
The government has explained that if you live in the affected areas, you should only be mixing with people that you live with. The new rules state:
- You should not be meeting people outside of your household inside the home, or even in a private garden. They have noted that support bubbles are an exception to this rule however.
- It has also been stated that you should not visit people who live outside of the affected areas.
- And, while you can still visit a pub, restaurant, place of worship or cafe with people in your household, you should not socialise with people outside of your household at the types of venues.
It will shortly be made illegal to do these things in the new lockdown areas, the government have stated, unless specific exemptions apply.
Many have criticised the government for making the announcement just hours before the restrictions came into force, at midnight last night. And many others have noted how disappointing the new guidelines are given that the Muslim celebration of Eid also begins to day – a time when many people would normally gather together.
In response to this, the government have reiterated that people should not be meeting inside homes, private gardens or other public venues.
However, they have explained that, “Up to two households, or six people from any number of households may meet outdoors (excluding people’s gardens) where there is a lower risk of infection. If you do so, you should still socially distance from those you do not live with, and avoid physical contact.”
“You may attend a mosque or other place or worship, where Covid-19 Secure guidance applies, but you must socially distance from people outside of your household. We recommend at this time that, if possible, prayer/religious services take place outdoors.”
Is lockdown over in Leicester?
A number of the restrictions that were imposed on Leicester a few weeks ago have now been lifted. From Monday, pubs and restaurants are permitted to reopen, as can cinemas and museums.
However, the above restrictions on seeing friends and family inside households and private gardens will still apply to Leicester for the foreseeable. Leisure centres, gyms and pools in the area must also remain closed, venues which are open in other parts of England.