Coronavirus: Restrictions in parts of England to remain in place

Coronavirus restrictions in parts of England are to remain in place, the government has announced.

Current rules on gatherings in parts of the North West, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester will remain in force, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

It means people in the areas affected cannot meet others in their homes or gardens, unless they are in a support bubble.

The restrictions will be reviewed again next week.

While casinos, bowling alleys and conference halls are among a range of venues that will reopen across England on Saturday, this will not happen in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester.

The government said the latest data does not show a decrease in the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the areas affected.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in conjunction with local leaders, agreed that restrictions should remain in place.

There has been a continued rise in COVID-19 cases in Oldham and Pendle, while numbers are still high in Blackburn with Darwen.

Local leaders have established an “enhanced incident team” in a bid to bring infection rates under control.

Newark and Sherwood in Nottinghamshire have been designated “areas of concern” on a watch list of council areas with higher-than-average incidences of the virus.

In Leicester, infection rates have fallen. A further review is being carried out and an update will be issued next week.

Health minister Edward Argar said: “I’d like to thank everyone in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester for their continued patience in following these vital rules put in place to tackle the spread of the disease – I know it hasn’t been easy.”

He added: “It is essential we all remain vigilant and I urge everyone in these areas to continue to follow the rules – wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms, and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to.”

The current restrictions allow people to meet others in groups of up to six individuals, or two households in public spaces outdoors.

A range of premises will remain closed in Bradford, Blackburn and Leicester, including pools, indoor gyms, nail bars, spas and beauty salons.

Shielding will continue for individuals in Blackburn with Darwen and Leicester City.

According to Leicester City Council, those who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable people and shielding until at least 7 September will receive a letter or text from the NHS telling them that guidance will be slightly relaxed from Monday.

People in this category will be informed they can meet in a group of up to six people outside, that they do not need to maintain social distancing with other members of their household and that a single adult household can form a support bubble with one other household.

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