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Coronavirus UK: Preston put in lockdown after spike in cases

Preston will tonight go into lockdown because cases of Covid-19 have almost tripled in a fortnight, officials announced today.

Health chiefs warned the measures for the Lancashire city – home to 140,000 people – will be kept under review but threatened tougher action if residents don’t abide by the rules.  

All residents will be banned from mixing with any other households indoors or in a garden from midnight, in a last-ditch attempt to curb soaring rates of coronavirus. They will also be urged to avoid meeting with friends in any setting, such as pubs and restaurants. 

But officials claimed people living under the lockdown measures – around 5million across the UK – are still able to meet others in groups up to six from two households in pubs and restaurants.  

Matt Hancock today announced the same strict coronavirus-fighting rules must also stay in place in Greater Manchester and other parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire because cases have yet to decline.  

And the ban on household gatherings will still apply to Leicester, which last month became the first city to be hit with a local lockdown. New cases in the city have halved since last month. 

Government data today showed Preston’s Covid-19 infection rate has risen to 36 new Covid-19 cases for every 100,000 people in the week ending August 4, compared to little over 13 just a fortnight ago.

It comes as Aberdeen was yesterday put back into lockdown as pubs, cafes and restaurants were shut and its population of more than 200,000 people were banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes.

Health chiefs warned the measures for the Lancashire city - home to 140,000 people - will be kept under review but threatened tougher action if residents don't abide by the rules

Health chiefs warned the measures for the Lancashire city – home to 140,000 people – will be kept under review but threatened tougher action if residents don’t abide by the rules

It comes after a nightclub in Preston controversially became the first in the UK to reopen after lockdown despite a government ban. The venue, Switch nightclub, lies less than six miles from areas in the north western county which have been placed back on partial lockdown following a spike in Covid-19 cases

It comes after a nightclub in Preston controversially became the first in the UK to reopen after lockdown despite a government ban. The venue, Switch nightclub, lies less than six miles from areas in the north western county which have been placed back on partial lockdown following a spike in Covid-19 cases








Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘The past week has been difficult for many people in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire.

‘And I thank everyone in these areas for their patience and willingness to follow the rules.

‘Yesterday I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee, and unfortunately, the data does not yet show a decrease in the transmission of this terrible virus. 

‘It means we must keep the current restrictions in place to allow more time for the impact of this ban on indoor gatherings to be felt, and make sure local residents and their loved ones are protected. At the request of the local area we are also extending these restrictions to Preston.

He added: ‘We are constantly examining the data on the prevalence of the virus in these areas, and we will review the measures again next week.

Row erupts as Tory MPs demand lifting of blanket measures for whole of Manchester

Tory MPs clashed with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over his claims that it would be ‘impossible’ to lift lockdown restrictions in just one borough. 

Labour mayor Mr Burnham said officials wouldn’t be able to lift stricter lockdown restrictions in Wigan despite the borough having the lowest infection rate in the metropolitan county.

However, furious local Conservative MPs took exception to his comments and wrote to Mr Hancock, claiming Mr Burnham’s ‘one size fits all approach’ is ‘not only wrong, but dangerous’. 

They added that lockdown measures in Leicester were only applied in certain areas, and were lifted gradually when it was deemed safe to do so.

That in turn sparked an angry response from the mayor, who said it was ‘so self-serving to politicise a serious public health issue like this’.

‘As we continue to see rising rates of the virus across Europe, it is vital we take every precaution to protect our country. I urge everyone in these areas to follow the rules, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms, and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to.’

The restrictions on gatherings will be reviewed again next week with any changes to be announced by Friday 14 August.

It comes after the city council’s chief executive yesterday warned Preston could be the next area to face Government intervention.

Before the measures were formally announced this afternoon, the authority advised residents to avoid having visitors to their homes.  

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Preston City Council chief executive Adrian Phillips said: ‘We are not waiting for some Government announcement.

‘We know our rates are increasing and they have increased over the last week to a level now where we are concerned that we could face Government intervention.

‘We’ve been working with our communities to make sure we get those key messages out.’

The council also advised residents to wear face coverings at all times and to get tested even if they are experiencing only mild symptoms. 

It comes after a nightclub in Preston controversially became the first in the UK to reopen after lockdown despite a government ban.  

Switch nightclub was given the green light to reopen last Saturday by Preston City Council after ‘re-purposing’ as a bar.

The move was subject to criticism after footage emerged of revellers congregating on its busy dance floor and dozens of people queuing in close proximity outside.

It comes as Tory MPs clashed with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over his claims that it would be ‘impossible’ to lift lockdown restrictions in just one borough. 

Labour mayor Mr Burnham said officials wouldn’t be able to lift stricter lockdown restrictions in Wigan despite the borough having the lowest infection rate in the metropolitan county.

However, furious local Conservative MPs took exception to his comments and wrote to Mr Hancock, claiming Mr Burnham’s ‘one size fits all approach’ is ‘not only wrong, but dangerous’. 

They added that lockdown measures in Leicester were only applied in certain areas, and were lifted gradually when it was deemed safe to do so.

That in turn sparked an angry response from the mayor, who said it was ‘so self-serving to politicise a serious public health issue like this’.

LOCKDOWN RULES: WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO

Areas affected: Preston, Greater Manchester (City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale and Salford), Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Leicester.

You must not: Meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law).

Visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas.

You should not: Socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.

Punishments: Fines, starting at £100 and halving to £50 if paid in the first 14 days but doubling for subsequent offences.

 

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE RULES?

Greater Manchester (including City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale and Salford): 2,835,686

Blackburn with Darwen: 149,696

Burnley: 88,920

Hyndburn: 81,043

Pendle: 92,112

Rossendale: 71,482

Bradford: 539,776

Calderdale: 211,455

Kirklees: 439,787

Preston: 141,818

Leicester: 329,839

Total: 4,981,614

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