Localised lockdowns widen as coronavirus cases rise in UK
The UK government on Friday further expanded localised lockdown measures in the northern parts of England as the number of coronavirus cases remain on an upward trajectory across the country.
London: The UK government on Friday further expanded localised lockdown measures in the northern parts of England as the number of coronavirus cases remain on an upward trajectory across the country.
The tougher restrictions on meeting between different households and bars and restaurants in the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire regions of England, which will be in force from next Tuesday, come in as the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) warned that its infection survey found that new COVID-19 cases could be hitting 6,000 a day in England.
We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton. Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
I know these restrictions will make every-day life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission, he said.
Under the tougher rules, which already came in force in other parts of north-east England from Friday, residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens; hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only; and late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, cinemas and pubs required to remain closed between 10 pm to 5 am.
Other curbs include no socialising with people outside households at all public venues; only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work; and avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
The localised changes are in addition to the UK-wide six-person limit on social gatherings, which came into force on Monday and can be enforced with a fine of 100 pounds, rising to up to 3,200 pounds for repeated breaches.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the measures will be kept under constant review to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
We recognise the impact these measures will have on Jewish communities as they mark Rosh Hashanah on Friday. Synagogues can remain open for communal worship in line with COVID-secure guidance, the DHSC said.
The government bases its localised lockdown decisions on the ONS weekly infections survey, which estimated that 59,800 people in the community in England had coronavirus in the week to September 10 roughly one in 900 people. That equated to about 6,000 new cases each day in England and the number of cases that had been picked up in official daily tests climbed from 1,940 to 2,919 during that week, suggesting that more than half of all cases are still going undetected.
Some reports indicate that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in talks over possible nationwide restrictions for a few weeks to bring the spike in coronavirus cases under control, keeping schools and most workplaces open.
At a meeting earlier in the week, the government's chief scientific adviser and medical officer forecast that there would be a significant number of deaths by the end of October if there were no further interventions.
The possible tougher UK-wide measures being discussed have been described within the government ranks as a "circuit-break" and include asking some hospitality businesses to close, or limiting the opening hours of some pubs and restaurants nationwide.
The Opposition parties have blamed the crisis on the government's testing system, which has been struggling under the pressure of a huge demand for coronavirus tests. (PTI)