New lockdown restrictions have been imposed in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, the City of Leicester and areas of West Yorkshire, following a spike in Covid-19 cases.
The new rules ban separate households from socialising at home, in private gardens and pubs and restaurants.
People in the affected areas are still able to go to pubs and restaurants, but only with members of their own household.
Following an increase in COVID-19 cases, there are now changes to the rules on gatherings in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 31, 2020
On twitter, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the spread of the virus is largely due to different households meeting indoors and not abiding by social distancing guidelines.
He said: “We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe.”
Last night I had to announce local action to tackle a spread in #coronavirus.
We take this step with a heavy heart, but it is so important that people follow the social distancing rules so that we can control the virus & save lives.https://t.co/uAWxc09o7q pic.twitter.com/UtGoCEVTuo
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) July 31, 2020
The new measures came into force almost immediately after the restrictions were announced, amidst fears of a second wave in parts of Europe.
In a press conference today, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “These are targeted measures on social contact between households, which the data tells us is driving the current increase in cases.
Businesses and workplaces should continue as before in those areas.
“I know how it is hard to have restrictions like this imposed on seeing your family and your friends. But we have to act rapidly in order to protect those we love.”
The government has given police forces and local authorities new powers to enforce the lockdown restrictions.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, said: “We will be stepping up the enforcement behind this.”
He said that the changes were ‘modest’ and need to be enforced in order to prevent a much stricter lockdown.
Image courtesy of Keith Vaughton via Flickr, with thanks.