New lockdown restrictions for Merseyside have been confirmed.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that from Tuesday, new measures will be placed on our entire region to try and combat the rapid rise in covid-19 infections.
In Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester), regulations will enforce the following restrictions from Tuesday 22 September :
- 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 operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 10pm to 5am.
Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:
- Only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
- Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
These decisions have been made in close collaboration with local leaders, with many requesting restrictions to help prevent further increase.
Confirmed cases have rocketed across the region in recent weeks – with Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens all passing the rate of 100 infections per 100,000 people threshold.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson told BBC Breakfast this morning that he expected the government to impose similar measures on Liverpool that were imposed on the North East on Thursday.
He said: “What I’m worried about is if we don’t tackle the measures now then we will head towards the winter, the Christmas period, where we could be in a real difficult position not just here but across the country. “
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Merseyside is not the only place affected by new measures today, with the Health Secretary also announcing new restrictions for large parts of Lancashire, West Yorkshire and the Midlands.
What do you think of the new rules? Will they be enough to halt the spread of the virus? Let us know your views in the comments
Mr Hancock said: “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.
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“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.”
“I urge local people to isolate and get a test if you have symptoms, follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace, and always remember ‘hands, face, space’. By sticking to these steps, we will get through this together.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson added: “These decisions have been made in close collaboration with local leaders, with many requesting restrictions to help prevent further increase
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“Rates in Liverpool have increased to 100.6, with Warrington rising to 111.2, Oadby and Wigston rising to 145.5, and Wolverhampton increasing to 61.8 per 100,000 in the past week (5-11th Sept).
“These changes are in addition to the ‘Rule of six’ which was introduced nationwide on Monday, limiting the number of people who can gather indoors or outdoors to six. This rule is in place across the country and will sit alongside additional restrictions in some local areas.”
Responding to the news today, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region said: “Since Merseyside was identified last week as an ‘area of concern’, there has been a growing expectation that increased restrictions would be put in place for our region.
“We now know that these new restrictions will come in to force from Tuesday next week.
“With Covid-19 cases still increasing rapidly, we must do everything we can to curb rising infection rates and protect our families, communities and businesses. That means that these increased restrictions are now a regrettable but necessary step.
“I know that this will be difficult for us all, but we simply cannot afford to see the progress we have made over the last few months derailed and for our communities and businesses to suffer more than they already have.
“Please be absolutely clear: we are already seeing hospital admissions increase, putting pressure on our NHS and we can’t allow this to reach the crisis levels we saw during national lockdown.
“We must all stop, think and do the right thing, or we will risk seeing infection rates spiral out of control, more tragic and avoidable deaths and a more drastic and damaging lockdown across our region. There is still time for us to stop this from happening.
“Our city region is renowned for being kind, friendly and community-spirited. We now need to stick to those principles, respect these new restrictions and make sure that we look out for one another.”
While the government is currently trying to limit restrictions to specific local areas, the spiralling rate of cases across the country has prompted discussion of a potential second national lockdown.
Top scientists from The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-m) have suggested another shorter lockdown should coincide with half term to minimise the disruption to schools, the Financial Times reported.
But Boris Johnson has told MPs he wants to avoid a second lockdown in England, saying it would be “completely wrong for this country.”