More than 17m living under extra lockdown measures as restrictions spread

More than 17.5 million people will be living under extra coronavirus restrictions, as new measures were set to be announced for Leeds, parts of Wales and more towns in the north west of England.

Officials in Leeds announced an expected ban from midnight on households mixing in each others’ homes, ahead of confirmation from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Amid reports of wider restrictions for Wigan and Stockport, Blackpool Tory MP Scott Benton said new measures will be in place for the seaside town, bringing it in line with the rest of Lancashire.

He said the infection rate had risen from 23 per 100,000 earlier this month to 63 per 100,000 on Wednesday.

In Wales, Cardiff and Swansea will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Sunday, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

People will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse. They will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.

Restrictions are already in force across large swathes of north-west England, West Yorkshire, the North East and the Midlands, as well as parts of west Scotland

It means an estimated 17.5 people across the UK were living under additional coronavirus measures, on top of those announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In Leeds, council leader Judith Blake said she realised no-one welcomed the extra measures, adding: “The safety of the city and the public simply has to come first and we have now reached a point where we all need to take additional steps to contain the spread of this terrible virus within our communities.”

At an online news conference, reporters were told these measures were expected to be in place all winter.

Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council chief executive, said: “What we are trying to do is give a simple message – you shouldn’t really mix with other households.”

The latest seven-day Covid-19 rate in Leeds was found to be 98.5 per 100,000 people, with an 8.4% positive test rate.

The addition of Leeds’ population would take the number of people living under local restrictions to more than 16.2 million people across the UK.

Meanwhile, London is being made an “area of concern”, according to London Councils, a cross-party organisation which represents all 32 boroughs and the City of London.

No additional measures will be taken in the city, but testing capacity will be boosted to closely monitor the growth of the virus.

In a statement, London Councils urged residents to follow the new Government restrictions introduced on Thursday.

It said rising cases were a “stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe, and to ensure that London’s economy is protected”.