Third of UK population affected as more areas face restrictions


New coronavirus measures in four local authority areas in Wales mean a third of the UK population will be affected by some form of restriction.

Local lockdowns will be introduced in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham from 6pm on Thursday in efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Welsh Government said.

It means people in these areas will not be allowed to enter or leave their areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education, and they will only be able to meet people they do not live with outdoors.

A tightening of restrictions in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland means people could be fined if they mix with others from outside their household or bubble in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the tougher measures in north-east England – introduced from midnight on Wednesday – came at the request of local councils.

They had been agreed in response to high and increasing infection rates in these areas, with incidence rates over 100 per 100,000 in six of the seven areas last week, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

It had already been illegal for two households to mix inside or in a garden, but it was only guidance that they should not meet at public venues, including restaurants and pubs.

Tuesday's update of the rolling seven-day rate of new cases of Covid-19 for every local authority area in England put Burnley at the top of the list.

Burnley has the highest rate in England, with 279 new cases recorded in the seven days to September 26 – the equivalent of 313.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Weekly rate of Covid-19 cases in the UK
Weekly rate of Covid-19 cases in the UK

This is up sharply from 164.2 in the seven days to September 19, while Knowsley has the second highest rate, up from 177.6 to 283.0 with 427 new cases.

Liverpool is in third place, where the rate has jumped from 181.9 to 265.6 with 1,323 new cases.

These areas are among a range of regions whose residents have been told not to meet other households indoors or in private gardens and they are allowed essential travel only.

Similar rules have applied in locations including Rossendale, Hyndburn, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Chorley, Wyre, Fylde, Lancaster, Ribble Valley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Halton and Warrington since September 22.

Residents in Oadby and Wigston, Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees must avoid socialising with other households in public venues or meeting them indoors or in private gardens.

Anyone living in areas including Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford, Blackpool, Stockport, Wigan, Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Leicester must not mix with people outside of their household either indoors or in a private garden.

They have also been told to avoid socialising with other households in public venues.

Bolton residents also have to deal with rules stopping them from meeting other households indoors or in a private garden and socialising with people they do not live with in public venues.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK

They have also been told to only make essential travel journeys and hospitality venues can only serve take-away food.

The regions of Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales went into local lockdown on Monday from 6pm, which means people are not able to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse.

They are not able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, and extended households have been suspended.

Restrictions were already in place in areas including Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

People across Scotland have been told not to meet anyone from another household indoors.

Students in Scotland were told they can return home from university accommodation on a long-term basis, as long as they follow rules on self-isolating.

Households across Northern Ireland are not allowed to mix indoors and non-essential travel outside the area is not allowed.