People who live in Bolton will not be permitted to socialise with those from other households after lockdown restrictions have been tightened in the town
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced the tighter restrictions to the lockdown measures in the town of Bolton in a statement on Tuesday to MPs in the House of Commons.
He said: “Unfortunately after improving for several weeks, we’ve seen a very significant rise in cases in Bolton. Bolton is up to 120 cases per 100,000 of population, the highest case rate in the country and I’m publishing the data behind the decisions that we’ve taken.”
This comes after people across the UK have been unable to get tests for COVID-19 because laboratories have reached a “critical pinch-point” in processing them. The director of COVID-19 testing at NHS Test and Trace, Sarah-Jane Marsh, has apologised for the unavailability of tests.
The health secretary stated that the rise in coronavirus cases in Bolton is “partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s”.
He added: “We know this from contact tracing.”
“And through our contacting tracing system we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly.”
He told MPs: “We’re also putting in place extra measures including visitor restrictions to restrict the spread of virus into care homes and hospitals in Bolton and I want to thank the leadership of Bolton Council who are doing an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.”
Mr Hancock added: “And I want to say this to everybody directly living in Bolton – I know how anxious this can be, and I know the impact that these measures will have.”
“We’re asking you to take a step back at a time when we all just want to get on with our lives and what we love and back to normal. But we need to take this crucial step to keep the virus at bay.”
“Because as we’ve seen elsewhere, if we act early and control the virus then we can save lives.”
This comes after the Prime Minister’s reported plan to scrap parts of his Brexit withdrawal deal “does break international law”, a cabinet minister has admitted, as the head of the UK government’s legal department has resigned due to his concerns about the plan.
This move comes as West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has said that there had been “a very notable increase in Birmingham and Solihull” COVID-19 infection rates in the last few days.
The coronavirus infection rate in the week ending at the 5th of September was 62.4 cases per 100,000 within the city of Birmingham, while in the neighbouring Solihull the rate was 46.1, according to NHS Digital.
A further eight people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have died in hospitals within England, bringing the total official number of confirmed deaths in the country’s hospitals to 29,619, according to NHS England on Tuesday.
Data from Public Health Wales shows that there have been 46.4 cases per 100,000 population in the past 14 days, and Rhondda Cynon Taf has had 46.8 cases per 100,000.
So far, Cardiff has had 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19, equalling 34.9 cases per 100,000.