LEEDS, Wigan, Cardiff and Swansea were all placed under local lockdown measures today after a surge in coronavirus infections.
Britain is heading for a new national lockdown in all but name as millions more were placed under tough new rules to stop the spread of the virus.
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Leeds will face new rules from midnight in the fight against Covid-19, including a ban on households mixing.
Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: “What we are trying to do is give a simple message – you shouldn’t really mix with other households.”
He said about 780,000 people will come under the new measures, which could be in place throughout the winter and into next year.
He added: “I think we know from the experience of Leicester, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire that when these restrictions are brought in they do not tend to be lifted after a week or two.”
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.
Judith Blake said she expected Leeds will be made an “area of intervention”, meaning “more household restrictions along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts in Bradford, Kirkless and Calderdale”.
She told reporters: “We expect them to come in from midnight.”
Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said the city’s virus rate was 98.5 per 100,000 people with a positive testing rate of 8.4%.
She said: “The spread of the virus is very dynamic across the city.
“It’s clear to see we have very widespread community transmissions right across the city.
“The expectation is the restrictions will be in place for a longer period of time, potentially right through the winter.”
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said today that as a result of a rise in infections in the area they were now subject to the rules for Greater Manchester too – meaning no households were allowed to mix inside.
She tweeted this afternoon after meeting with the health minister earlier.
She added: “I know how hard it it is but to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, please follow the guidance.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnahm has cast doubt over the effectiveness of the local lockdown.
He said today: “There are doubts here about the extent to which the restrictions have been effective.
“At best I think we can say they have have probably stopped the growth in cases we might otherwise have seen, but the patchwork nature of these restrictions, the confusion there is among the public, I think is diminishing any remaining effectiveness that they have.
“It can’t be the case that it’s restrictions alone that are being used to try and control the virus, because if we try that then I’m afraid we will be overtaken by this.
“Fixing Test and Trace is the answer, not loading more and more restrictions on local authorities.
“With the numbers we have at the moment, it is difficult to argue against measures that will try to seek to bring those numbers under control, and I think it’s difficult to argue against a consistent approach across Greater Manchester given the position we are now in, but there is a limit to what any restrictions like this can achieve.”
Stockport MPs were also due to get an update from the Department for Health on their situation, with more measures expected for them too.
London was added to the coronavirus watchlist too, sparking fears of extra rules for the capital in the coming weeks.
What are the new lockdown rules in England?
- No hosting people you don’t live with in their household – and no visiting their home or garden either
- No socialising with people outside your household in any public setting like the pub
- You can still travel outside your area and go on holiday – but not with other households
- You can still see other members of your support bubble
- You can continue to go to work or school
- People can still move home
- In parts of the North East and in Oldham you should only use public transport if it’s essential
- In Bolton, pubs have had to shut altogether except for take away drinks
Lockdown rules are set to come into force in Cardiff and Swansea counties from Sunday at 6pm.
The town of Llanelli will also face new restrictions from Saturday at 6pm.
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being – and they won’t be able to leave the area without a reasonable excuse.
The majority of cases were linked to people socialising and not social distancing, the Welsh Government said.
It takes the total number of people under local rules in Wales to around 1.5million.
Local restrictions are already in place in six other areas of South Wales – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly borough, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Newport.
What are the rules for areas in local lockdown in Wales?
- No seeing people you don’t live with indoors – but outside it’s allowed
- No seeing support bubble inside
- People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education
- All licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm – like in the rest of the UK
- Supermarkets and off licences to also stop serving booze after 10pm