Coronavirus UK: Muslim leaders slam eve of Eid lockdown

One mosque leader in locked down Yorkshire has criticised some of his worshipers for failing to take the threat of coronavirus ‘seriously enough’ and a lack of social distancing that has contributed to a ‘dangerous’ spike in cases in the north of England.

Mohammed Ashrif Tahir Nushai, 84, a community leader in Bradford, spoke out as the Government was blasted for imposing a new lockdown in Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire at the start of Eid.

Mr Nushai told MailOnline: ‘Sadly, there are people within our community who are not taking coronavirus seriously enough. Since the easing of the main lockdown, a lot of people have been visiting relatives and friends and attending events in each other’s homes with very little thought of keeping themselves safe.

‘We have been trying to get them to understand the message and take greater precautions but what can we do? Now, in Bradford we find ourselves in a very dangerous situation with coronavirus cases on the rise.’

Akhtar Mahmood, a member of the mosque committee added: ‘One of the big problems we have had is of people going to pay their respects at the homes of those who have recently died. We lost a member of our congregation two weeks ago and there were 50 people gathered at his house to express their sympathies.’  A single road in Bradford registered an astonishing 17 coronavirus cases within six days, it has emerged. 

The areas subject to the new rules that ban meeting members of other households indoors are Greater Manchester (City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale and Salford), Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees. 

But other Muslims are furious at the government’s decision to announce the new measures at 9.16pm yesterday on the eve of Eid, and branded the decision an appalling abuse of power’. They also accused Boris Johnson’s Government of having ‘no regard for British Muslims’.

Others have claimed that British Muslims are being unfairly blamed. Taxi driver Mahaz Raja, 39, said: ‘There were thousands of people out on the streets after Liverpool won the Premiership and Leeds United were promoted to the Premier League.

‘None of them were maintaining social distance and broke every coronavirus rule imaginable. So why did the Government introduce new lockdown restrictions on the eve of Eid? As a community we feel that we are being unfairly targeted and that this is double standards by the Government. That’s what gets people angry.’

Community leaders today branded the decision to lock down the north-west of England at the start of Eid ‘an appalling abuse of power’ and accused Boris Johnson’s Government of having ‘no regard for British Muslims’.

Mohammed Shafiq from the Ramadhan Foundation said the decision to ban 4.5million people mixing for at least a week will ruin plans for thousands celebrating the religious festival in Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire until Monday night. 

Akhtar Mahmood (left) Mohammed Ashraf Tahir Nushahi (right), from Bradford, have spoken out as the Government was blasted for imposing a new lockdown in Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire at the start of Eid

Mohammed Waqas outside a mosque in Bradford

Precautionary measures at the Toller Lane Mosque in Bradford

Precautions in place at the Toller Lane mosque, Bradford where leaders are stressing the seriousness of lockdown restrictions

These are the infection rates in the north-west, which have got the Government worried, but some have claimed the rates in some of the lockdown boroughs are still ‘very low’ as British Muslims slammed the lockdown in Eid

Blackburn with Darwen – the worst-hit authority in the country – will be subject to the new rules, as will Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees as well as all of Greater Manchester

Unfairly blamed: Many Muslims have hit back and say their communities are being unfairly blamed for breaking social distancing while crowds pack in to bars and beaches. A crowd of drinkers is pictured at a pub in London. Taxi driver Mahaz Raja, 39, said: ‘There were thousands of people out on the streets after Liverpool won the Premiership and Leeds United were promoted to the Premier League.

Unfairly blamed: Many Muslims have hit back and say their communities are being unfairly blamed for breaking social distancing while crowds pack in to bars and beaches. A crowd of drinkers is pictured at a pub in London. Taxi driver Mahaz Raja, 39, said: ‘There were thousands of people out on the streets after Liverpool won the Premiership and Leeds United were promoted to the Premier League.

Worshippers observe social distancing at the Bradford Central Mosque on the first day of Eid

Worshippers observe social distancing at the Bradford Central Mosque on the first day of Eid

Massive crowds were seen across the country today - the fourth hottest day ever recorded in the UK. Bournemouth beach is pictured

Massive crowds were seen across the country today – the fourth hottest day ever recorded in the UK. Bournemouth beach is pictured

 

 

People wearing face masks have their temperatures checked before being allowed to go into Manchester Central Mosque to worship this morning as the city and much of the north-west was locked down

People wearing face masks have their temperatures checked before being allowed to go into Manchester Central Mosque to worship this morning as the city and much of the north-west was locked down

Worshippers observe social distancing as they arrive at the Bradford Grand Mosque in Bradford, West Yorkshire, today - but some religious leaders claimed it was wrong to announce the lockdown with so little notice

Worshippers observe social distancing as they arrive at the Bradford Grand Mosque in Bradford, West Yorkshire, today – but some religious leaders claimed it was wrong to announce the lockdown with so little notice

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been forced to deny he had targeted Eid when announcing the Covid-19 restrictions as the religious holiday was about to start – but British Muslims slammed his announcement as ‘shockingly short notice’.

Mr Shafiq said: ‘Already by the time the Government announced that on Twitter, families had already travelled to their loved ones’ homes and people have already started their Eid preparations. To make that decision on social media, with no regard for British Muslims is an appalling abuse of its power and shows how disconnected they are from wider society. I condemn the announcement and I hope they have learned a big lesson from this’.   

The Muslim Council of Britain’s secretary general, Harun Khan, condemned the Government for making the announcement at ‘shockingly short notice’. He said: ‘With the first day of Eid being today, for Muslims in the affected areas it is like being told they cannot visit family and friends for Christmas on Christmas Eve itself’. 

NEW LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO

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

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; 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.

You may: Visit pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with others. 

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

Source: Gov.uk website 

Labour Bolton MP, Yasmin Qureshi, said today: ‘For the Government to make a major public health announcement on the eve of Eid Al Adha (on Twitter) in haste, without clarity or guidance is beyond disruptive, it’s irresponsible’.

But today a Tory with a Parliamentary constituency on the edge of the lockdown zone accused ‘BAME communities of not taking this seriously enough’ as coronavirus cases have been rising in towns with large Muslim and minority populations such as Blackburn, Rochdale and Bradford.

Criag Whittaker, MP for the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, told LBC: ‘If you look at the areas where we’ve seen rises and cases, the vast majority – but not by any stretch of the imagination all areas – it is the BAME communities.

‘We have areas of high multiple occupancy – when you have multiple families living in one household. It doesn’t specifically have to be in the Asian community, but that is the largest proportion. Look at the areas. You’ve got Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees. Bradford and Kirklees have two of the largest populations in West Yorkshire’. When asked he was referring to the immigrant population, he said: ‘Immigrant and Asian population.’ 

Asked if he agreed with comments by a Tory MP in one of the impacted areas claiming that the BAME community was not taking the situation seriously enough, Boris Johnson said at today’s press conference: ‘On your first point about how the… are certain communities responding enough to the guidance – well, I think it’s up to all of us in Government to make sure that the message is being heard loud and clear by everybody across the country, and to make sure that everybody is complying with the guidance.’ 

The Prime Minister said: ‘I want to thank all the community leaders, I want to thank everybody, the mosques, the imams who have worked hard with us to get messages across.

‘All faith leaders and other community leaders getting that message across throughout society. But, ultimately it’s up everybody. It’s up to the whole country to get this right and do it together.’

Eid al-Adha – the festival of sacrifice – follows the completion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

It is the second major celebration of the Islamic calendar after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of fasting called Ramadan.

Many Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, which can last between two to four days, by sacrificing an animal for feasts to be shared by family, friends and those in need in large groups.

Boris Johnson today announced he is ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown and announced the compulsory wearing of face masks is being extended after the rate of infection doubled during July.

Mr Johnson said coronavirus cases have started to ‘creep up’ – with the Office for National Statistics estimating there are now 4,200 new infections every day, up from 2,000 per day at the end of June – and as a result the Government had no choice but to delay the further reopening of the economy.

He said the scheduled August 1 return of casinos, bowling alleys and close contact services like beauticians has now been pushed back to August 15 ‘at the earliest’. Loosening rules to allow wedding receptions of up to 30 people and a pilot scheme of bringing crowds back to sports venues have also been delayed.

The mandatory wearing of face coverings will be extended in England to include galleries, cinemas and places of worship while there will also now be a ‘greater police presence’ to ensure people wear masks and comply with social distancing.

Meanwhile, England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned as he stood alongside the PM at a lunchtime Downing Street press conference that the UK has potentially reached a limit for how much of society can be safely opened up. 

People in the lockdown zone are worried about their livelihood.

Restaurant owner Johanne Banks told Mail Online her phone had been non-stop with people cancelling bookings after the lockdown was re-imposed on Greater Manchester.

So many people had cancelled bookings at the Crowded House restaurant in Bury that she was considering closing for the weekend and putting staff back on the Government furlough.

She said:’ It is lunchtime and we do not have a single person in the restaurant.

‘All the bookings for this evening and the rest of the weekend have been cancelled.

‘I really have to consider closing and then see what happens next week. It has been a disaster.’

Bury is part of Greater Manchester and despite seeing fewer than five cases a day of Covid-19 being reported included in the lockdown area.

Johanne said the new restrictions came as a surprise particularly as Bury was not one of the worst affected areas in the North West.

She had re-opened her restaurant earlier this month after the Government lifted the lockdown and customers flocked back to the business.

‘People were very happy to get back to some normality and business was good,’ she said.

‘We were happy to be open and to see people coming back out to the restaurant after being closed for so long.

‘This new lockdown has come as a blow. Its a setback and many of the staff who were on part time furlough might have to go back on to the scheme.’

The restaurant employs 45 people on various shift patterns.

An adjoining beauty salon also run by Johanne and her husband had also opened for business after restrictions were lifted earlier this month.

Seven days that led to lockdown of 4.5million people 

Reimposing lockdown measures on 4.5 million people in the north of England is the culmination of a week of warnings from the Government’s top health experts about the risk of rising infection. 

Matt Hancock announced last night that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire are now banned from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens following a spike in cases.

The move represents an exclamation point on a seven day period when the Government has moved quickly to take action in numerous areas in order to combat the spread of coronavirus

It started with reimposing quarantine restrictions on travellers returning to the UK from Spain on Saturday night after Professor Chris Whitty warned ministers that ‘doing nothing isn’t an option’ as infection levels increased on the continent. 

Meanwhile, Sir Patrick Vallance is said to have warned Downing Street on Monday that the UK could be just two or three weeks behind Spain’s second wave trajectory.

Ministers then confirmed yesterday that the self-isolation period for people with symptoms has been increased from seven days to 10.  

The rapid action has prompted accusations – denied by ministers – that they are over-reacting to expert advice in order to avoid repeating the mistakes made at the start of the outbreak. 

Here is how the last seven days panned out as the Government’s response to the virus became noticeably more aggressive.  

Saturday: Ministers reimpose quarantine measures on Spain after Chris Whitty warns ‘doing nothing isn’t an option’

Ministers announced on Saturday evening that quarantine travel restrictions were being reimposed on Spain at just five hours’ notice because of surging cases.  

The Government’s Covid-O committee met on Saturday afternoon after Mr Hancock raised concerns about a spike in Spanish infections on Friday. 

The group of six senior ministers, which included Michael Gove, Grant Shapps and Priti Patel, were apparently told by Prof Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, that the situation in Spain had deteriorated significantly in the last 48 hours. 

Ministers were told there had been an increase in infection in 15 of Spain’s 19 regions but the ‘clincher’ was the fact that 10 Britons had recently tested positive after coming back from the country. 

Prof Whitty described the number as ‘statistically significant’ and said ‘doing nothing isn’t an option’ as ministers took the controversial decision to reimpose quarantine, plunging holidaymakers and the travel industry into chaos.

Monday: Sir Patrick Vallance warns Number 10 the UK could be just a matter of weeks behind Spain’s second wave trajectory 

The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser is said to have delivered a stark warning to Downing Street at the start of the week. 

Sir Patrick reportedly told No10 that the UK could be just two or three weeks behind Spain in terms of a surge in case numbers.

His warning came as the travel industry pushed for quarantine restrictions on Spain to be eased. 

But in reality the Government actually toughened its travel advice on Spain as it moved to ban all non-essential travel to the Canary and Balearic Islands, bringing them into line with the Spanish mainland. 

Meanwhile, ministers were also actively monitoring the situation in countries like Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia amid suggestions they could also face quarantine. Travel to Luxembourg was banned yesterday evening.

Tuesday: Boris Johnson ramps up his rhetoric and warns there are ‘signs of a second wave’ in Europe

The Prime Minister defended the UK’s decision to reimpose 14-day quarantine on Spanish travel as he warned cases were ‘starting to bubble up again’. 

The Prime Minister insisted the Government had to act quickly to respond to what it believed are threats to the domestic fight against coronavirus. 

He said: ‘What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.

‘Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.’ 

Thursday morning: Boris Johnson says the UK must not ‘delude’ itself that the crisis is over as ministers increase self-isolation period to 10 days 

The Prime Minister struck a pessimistic tone on a visit to North Yorkshire as he said the UK must not abandon efforts to stop the spread of the virus. 

He warned there were ‘between ten and 30 places where you are seeing it bubbling up a little bit’. 

He said ‘tough local lockdowns’ would be used to ‘get it under control in those towns’. 

‘It is absolutely vital that as a country we continue to keep our focus and our discipline and that we don’t delude ourselves that somehow we’re out of the woods or that this is all over, because it isn’t all over,’ he said.  

‘The most important thing we can do is stop a second wave, a really damaging second wave, which will have real consequences.’ 

On the same day ministers confirmed that the self-isolation period for people with coronavirus symptoms had been increased from seven days to 10. 

The hardening of the rules came amid fears that people are actually infectious for longer than previously thought as the rolling average of daily cases was shown to have been rising since earlier this month.  

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock denied suggestions that ministers were fuelling ‘hysteria’ by warning of a second wave in Europe.

Thursday evening: Matt Hancock announces reimposition of partial lockdown on north of England at 9.16pm

The results of a review of a local lockdown in Leicester had been expected to be set out yesterday afternoon but the announcement was delayed. 

Mr Hancock then took the nation completely by surprise as he announced on Twitter that 4.5 million people across the north of England would face tougher restrictions from midnight. 

The new restrictions mean that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire are banned from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens following a spike in virus cases. 

The timing of the announcement, and the fact that the full details of the rules were only published after 11pm, sparked a furious backlash as critics claimed it represented a ‘new low’ for government communications during the crisis. 

‘Lots of people came to us as they thought they could get back to normal. I do understand why the Government has put the lockdown in place but we are just on the edge of the area where it is worst, she said.

‘I think people are going to be afraid to go out again as no one want to catch the virus. No one at the restaurant has been affected and we have taken all the necessary precautions.’

A pub landlord in the city, who asked not to be named, said: ‘This could be a disaster for us if the lockdown stays in place too long. We have tried to make sure our customers maintain social distancing and restrict numbers, but obviously there are people who have ignored this and led to the spread of the virus.’

Barbara Tunstall, 88, retired from Bury said: ‘I agree with what the government have done in the North because a lot of people aren’t abiding to the rules.

‘There needs to be more compulsory fines put in place – more and more people will flout the guidelines if they’re not getting told off for not following them.

‘In town now I’m seeing so many people without masks – I can’t breathe in mine and I’m still wearing it.

‘I bet people here will still visit their family despite the new rules which makes me worried that the whole country, not just the North, will go into lockdown again.’

Paul Craig, 65, from Bury said: ‘It’s difficult with the government changing the rules for specific cities and people are moaning about them again but we can’t blame them as the situation is always changing so they’re going to have to change the rules to match.

‘I’m not worried about the virus and have been going about my daily life while trying to follow the restrictions but my ex wife has come over from Yorkshire this week and she’s worried about going back because she might not see us again for a long while.’

James Brownson, 30, a landscaping company director, from Bury said: ‘I’m self-employed so the first lockdown hit me hard because we had no suppliers and were forced to shut,

‘The new measures are completely backwards – all the pubs and shops were allowed to open and now that might come crashing down again.

‘It seems strange that we can no longer make arrangements with our family – I’m sad that I can’t meet up with mine anymore.

‘It’s also crackers that people are deciding to book holidays, I’ve had mine cancelled and I wasn’t planning to book any more.

‘Boris should have announced it on television like he’s done before but this seems to have just been put across social media so everyone’s sharing it on Facebook and going into panic.

‘The way it’s going, we’ll be going into a second lockdown and then a major recession.’

Michelle Carol, 52, a market stall owner from Bury said: ‘It’s so confusing at the moment and we’ve only just managed to get back out selling things in the market to risk it all shutting again.

‘Personally I think it’s daft that we can still go to the pub with our family when we’re indoors near lots of random people who could have the virus.

‘It all seems to be guess work at the moment with the government’s decisions.’

Sami Mahmood, 21, a shop keeper from Bury said: ‘The new rules in Manchester are good because everyone’s keeping safe but it’s rubbish for people who were excited to go back to normal and start seeing their family again.

‘It got boring in lockdown because it was very long but it’s important for everyone to keep each other people secure and keep the virus cases down.

‘I think it makes sense to put the new rules in place with Eid around the corner because it’s a family event and people need to think about caring for their families more instead of meeting up.’

Maria Stewart, 52, from Bury said: ‘The whole situation with the new guidelines is crazy – people are going to the beach in this hot weather instead of seeing their family so are still mixing with people.

‘I had plans to sit in my garden with my family this afternoon which I’ve had to cancel.

‘There’s no logic behind it and it’s confusing – I’ve always understood the rules before, until now.’

Maria’s daughter Leah Stewart, 24, said: ‘I’ve just been made redundant from my job at a travel company but it doesn’t make sense that people can still go to work with 30 plus people but not see their family.

‘I wanted to see my friends this afternoon but we’re keen to stick to the rules but I’m not sure other people will do the same given the fact that it’s so warm today.

‘I’m hoping the cases will lower when the government come to review it ‪in three weeks.’

Matt Hancock today denied targeting Eid celebrations with a last-minute move to introduce strict new lockdown restrictions on 4.5million people living in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The Health Secretary defended last night’s surprise announcement to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases across the region, which he made in a series of tweets at 9.15pm – less than three hours before the rules came into force. 

Residents in all of Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees are now banned from mixing with any other households indoors or in a garden to reduce Covid-19 infections.

But people can still visit pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops and places of worship as long as it is with people they live with and they avoid interaction with others outside their bubble. The measures will be reviewed in a week’s time, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said.

Mr Hancock was today asked whether the rules were aimed at stopping families getting together for Eid al-Adha, an Islamic festival that will run until Monday night. There is a large Muslim population in the north west. He told the BBC: ‘No. My heart goes out to the Muslim communities in these areas because I know how important Eid celebrations are.’ 

There is anger today as the strict restrictions were announced on social media just 165 minutes before lockdown began, with many people living in the zone likely to be unaware the new lockdown had started at all when they woke up this morning. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer blasted the move as a ‘new low for the Government’s communications during this crisis’, while shadow business secretary Lucy Powell, who is the MP for Manchester Central, described it as a ‘disaster’. ‘With no one around to be able to answer some of the basic questions, I really think is not the way to build confidence and to take people with you and maximise compliance with these steps,’ she added. 

There is also confusion because some of the areas, such as Rossendale, have only seen three three confirmed coronavirus cases on any day since start of July. In Trafford, Greater Manchester, there have been around ten cases per day in a borough with 236,370 residents and infections are ‘very low’, despite a small rise in cases, officials said this week.

Local MP William Wragg said: ‘Greater Manchester is not a homogenous area. We must always err on the side of caution but to treat 10 boroughs the same is not the right approach.’ 

Spikes in Oldham and Blackburn with Darwen have both been driven by soaring rates among Asian communities, councillors have said. Arooj Shah, deputy leader of Oldham Council, confirmed they had seen a rise in cases among Oldham’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, which account for up to two thirds of overall new cases in the Manchester town. 

Eighty-five per cent of new Covid-19 infections in Blackburn with Darwen have been among people from South Asian heritage, which also make up around a fifth of the local authority’s residents. Around 20 per cent of Oldham’s population are from Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage, compared to the 2.8 per cent average in England and Wales.   

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today admitted the Government had planned more ‘targeted, specific local action’ in Oldham and Blackburn but could see that coronavirus was ‘spreading more widely than that’ so ‘we had to take the action that we did’.

He said: ‘The reason for that is we’ve seen these increases across the board in Greater Manchester as well as the other areas that are affected.’ 

The new lockdown means that in nine areas of the north:

  • It is now illegal for people who do not live together to meet in any private home or garden;
  • But people can still go to pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions with their household or support bubble;
  • Going to work is permissible and weddings and civil partnership ceremonies in these areas can still go ahead. No more than 30 people should attend and it must be at a Covid-safe venue;
  • Leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed; 

The move came amid fears Britain is heading for a second wave following a surge in infections in European countries including Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia.

Boris Johnson yesterday warned of a resurgence as the UK reported the highest daily total of Covid-19 cases for more than a month. There were 846 new infections, the greatest number recorded since June 28 when there were 901. 

Matt Hancock today denied targeting Eid celebrations with a last-minute move to introduce strict new lockdown restrictions. Pictured: A man wearing a facemask has his temperature checked before being allowed to go into Manchester Central Mosque

Matt Hancock today denied targeting Eid celebrations with a last-minute move to introduce strict new lockdown restrictions. Pictured: A man wearing a facemask has his temperature checked before being allowed to go into Manchester Central Mosque

The new measures will affect 4.5million people living in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire (Manchester Central Mosque this morning)

The new measures will affect 4.5million people living in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire (Manchester Central Mosque this morning)

Government data shows several coronavirus hotpsots gathering pace in the north of England

Government data shows several coronavirus hotpsots gathering pace in the north of England

The decision to impose lockdown at short notice has caused huge anger by those in the zone - and many are baffled by the rules

The decision to impose lockdown at short notice has caused huge anger by those in the zone – and many are baffled by the rules

Cambridge University scientists earlier this week estimated the R rate had risen to above one in the South West and South East (black number). They also projected how many people were still being struck down each day across England (red number), with cases estimated to be down everywhere apart from the South East and South West

Cambridge University scientists earlier this week estimated the R rate had risen to above one in the South West and South East (black number). They also projected how many people were still being struck down each day across England (red number), with cases estimated to be down everywhere apart from the South East and South West

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has banned households in parts of Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire from meeting indoors from midnight tonight

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has banned households in parts of Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire from meeting indoors from midnight tonight

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE NEW 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

Total: 4,509,957

Announcing the new regional lockdown last night, Mr Hancock said: ‘The action that we’ve taken across parts of northern England where we can see that increase in the number of cases is all about keeping people safe. 

‘What we’ve seen is one of the causes of this increase is households gathering together and ignoring the social distancing rules.

‘So we’re having to bring in firm action and say two households cannot meet indoors, because that way we can help to stop the spread of the virus. We can see a second peak coming in parts of Europe, that’s why we’ve taken some of the action we’ve had to.’

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell described the way in which the Government announced the new coronavirus restrictions on parts of northern England as a ‘disaster’.

Speaking on Times Radio, the MP for Manchester Central said: ‘I mean announcing them two hours before they come into effect is a bit of a bolt out of the blue.

‘With no one around to be able to answer some of the basic questions, I really think is not the way to build confidence and to take people with you and maximise compliance with these steps.’

She said she was ‘none of the wiser’ about the data that has led to widespread restrictions on parts of northern England, including in her own constituency. 

‘I follow the data extremely closely as a Member of Parliament and I’m still none the wiser about what the data is that has generated this action so swiftly across such a broad area’, she said.

‘If we had a much better track and trace system in place we’d be able to see much more clearly some of the localised nature or where these transmissions are actually occurring, and take action more strongly in a more localised fashion rather than across such a broad area.

‘We are still getting less than 50% of tests back within 24 hours and frankly that is just not good enough.’

‘There’s a huge number of questions here and it’s not clear to me what the data is that is sowing such significant change over the last few days that such widespread measures are necessary, and I think it’s something that I should know’. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised ministers for making the announcement at just before 10pm and on social media. He said: ‘Announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the Government’s communications during this crisis.’ 

Matt Hancock was grilled on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning about the latest restrictions in the North West and the decision to announce them at the eleventh hour last night.

Mr Hancock defended the move, saying: ‘If the Labour leadership in London doesn’t think that people across the north of England can follow social distancing rules when they’re announce, then they’re wrong.

‘People are very largely following the rules as we are bringing hem in and we do have to make changes because we’re trying to tackle a virus that spreads through social contact.

‘It’s one of the sad things about this virus, that it thrives on exactly the sort of social contact that we all love and that makes life worth living.’

Asked if the spikes in cases were being triggered because people were confused about what they can and can’t do following the easing of lockdown, Mr Hancock appeared to conceded that the rules had become ambigious.

He said: ‘Well we are bringing in more advertising to set out exactly what people need to do and make clear that the basics are still incredibly important – washing your hands, the use of face coverings and social distancing – and if you get symptoms you must get a test.’ 

The health secretary said the Government has not closed pubs or recommended people in the North West to start working from home again because the data showed the ‘spread was happening between households visiting each other and people visiting their family and friends’.

Mr Hancock added: ‘One of the features of this pandemic is that, in Government, we’ve had to take decisions swiftly and then announce them swiftly so people know about them.

‘We’ve done this with the local authorities, with officials of public health on the ground and talking to them about how we do it.’  

There was further concern that the restrictions – which affect areas with large Muslim populations – were announced hours before the celebration of Eid al-Adha began. Many compared it to cancelling Christmas at 10pm on Christmas Eve. 

Probed about whether last night’s late hasty announcement was made to block Eid celebrations, Mr Hancock said ‘no’. He added: ‘My heart goes out to the Muslim communities in these areas and I know how important Eid celebrations are.

‘I’m very grateful to the local Muslim leaders, in fact across the country, who’ve been working so hard to find a way to have Covid-secure celebrations, for instance celebrating Eid in parks where there’s more space available, and of course outdoors is safer than indoors.’

The health secretary was then asked why meeting friends and families in outdoor gardens was being banned, to which he said: ‘Parks and outdoor public spaces are the safest option because for many people to go to a garden you have to go through a house and then you get more complicated rules. I think it’s just a human tendency that when you’re in your own home you do get closer.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised ministers for making the announcement at just before 10pm and on social media, describing it as 'a new low' for Government communications

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised ministers for making the announcement at just before 10pm and on social media, describing it as ‘a new low’ for Government communications

Data from Public Health England released last week - the most recently available - showed how infection rates were changing in the 10 worst-hit authorities across the country

Data from Public Health England released last week – the most recently available – showed how infection rates were changing in the 10 worst-hit authorities across the country

ARE CASES REALLY ON THE RISE IN THE NORTH WEST? 

Coronavirus cases are going down in one area of Greater Manchester – even though lockdown restrictions have been placed on the entire region.

Official NHS statistics show infection rates have declined by 44 per cent in Rochdale over the past week.

All nine other boroughs – Bolton, Stockport, Tameside, Oldham, Trafford, Salford, Bury, Wigan, and the city of Manchester – have been hit by a spike in outbreaks.

Local Tory MP William Wragg said treating all 10 boroughs the same was ‘not the right approach’.

Stockport, which is home to 290,000 people, saw the biggest rise in Covid-19 cases between July 21 and 27 – the most recent data.

Fifty-five people were diagnosed with the disease across the borough. This equates to a rate of 18.9 cases per 100,000 people – 150 per cent higher than it was the week before.

Trafford saw a 94 per cent rise to 39.3 and Oldham’s rate rose 90 per cent over the course of a week to 57.3, making it the second worst-hit authority in England.

Wigan also saw a 127 per cent spike over the last week – but its infection rate is much lower and currently stands at 7.7 cases for every 100,000 people.

Infection rates jumped by between 60 and 80 per cent in the city of Manchester (27.2), Bury (16.3), Tameside (16.0) and Salford (22.4).

Bolton’s rate jumped by 12 per cent to 16.8.

The weekly rate in Rochdale – the seventh worst-hit area of England at the moment – dropped to 27.3.

WHAT ABOUT IN LANCASHIRE AND YORKSHIRE?

Health chiefs only provide rolling weekly infection data for England’s upper-tier local authorities, which are often county councils.

It means it isn’t possible to see how outbreaks are growing in smaller regions, unless local health bosses release the data they have.

For example, figures show cases are still dropping slightly in Blackburn with Darwen (down 9 per cent to 83.3), which operates as a lone authority.

But other parts of the county hit by the lockdown restrictions – Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale – all fall under the bracket of Lancashire.

Lancashire’s infection rate currently stands at 10.9 – 6 per cent lower than the rate last week.

Local papers have, however, reported that infection rates are almost 40 in Pendle and Hyndburn.

Bradford – one of the three areas of West Yorkshire hit by Matt Hancock’s tough new measures – has seen a 1 per cent increase in cases. Data shows its infection rate now stands at 45.8.

Calderdale’s has risen 64 per cent to 36.7. But the rate in Kirklees has dropped 23 per cent to 20.5.

All three boroughs are in the worst dozens authorities in England currently.

 

Under the regional lockdown, meeting up with another household indoors at home will be banned, with police given powers to enforce it. 

Pubs and restaurants will stay open but customers will be advised not to visit them with people they do not live with. However, it is not thought that police will have enforcement powers if they refuse.

The current rules for England in general state two households can meet indoors – including in a pub or restaurant – but should not touch each other.

Official data shows that coronavirus cases are going down in one area of Greater Manchester – even though lockdown restrictions have been placed on the entire region. 

NHS statistics show infection rates have declined by 44 per cent in Rochdale over the past week.

All nine other boroughs – Bolton, Stockport, Tameside, Oldham, Trafford, Salford, Bury, Wigan, and the city of Manchester – have been hit by a spike in outbreaks.

Local Tory MP William Wragg said treating all 10 boroughs the same was ‘not the right approach’.

Stockport, which is home to 290,000 people, saw the biggest rise in Covid-19 cases between July 21 and 27 – the most recent data.

Fifty-five people were diagnosed with the disease across the borough. This equates to a rate of 18.9 cases per 100,000 people – 150 per cent higher than it was the week before.

Trafford saw a 94 per cent rise to 39.3 and Oldham’s rate rose 90 per cent over the course of a week to 57.3, making it the second worst-hit authority in England.

Wigan also saw a 127 per cent spike over the last week – but its infection rate is much lower and currently stands at 7.7 cases for every 100,000 people.

Infection rates jumped by between 60 and 80 per cent in the city of Manchester (27.2), Bury (16.3), Tameside (16.0) and Salford (22.4).

Bolton’s rate jumped by 12 per cent to 16.8.

The weekly rate in Rochdale – the seventh worst-hit area of England at the moment – dropped to 27.3. 

Health chiefs only provide rolling weekly infection data for England’s upper-tier local authorities, which are often county councils.

It means it isn’t possible to see how outbreaks are growing in smaller regions in Lancashire and Yorkshire unless local health bosses release the data they have.

For example, figures show cases are still dropping slightly in Blackburn with Darwen (down 9 per cent to 83.3), which operates as a lone authority.

But other parts of the county hit by the lockdown restrictions – Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale – all fall under the bracket of Lancashire.

Lancashire’s infection rate currently stands at 10.9 – 6 per cent lower than the rate last week.

Local papers have, however, reported that infection rates are almost 40 in Pendle and Hyndburn.

Bradford – one of the three areas of West Yorkshire hit by Matt Hancock’s tough new measures – has seen a 1 per cent increase in cases. Data shows its infection rate now stands at 45.8.

Calderdale’s has risen 64 per cent to 36.7. But the rate in Kirklees has dropped 23 per cent to 20.5.

All three boroughs are in the worst dozens authorities in England currently.

Mr Hancock said the regional measures had been imposed following a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee which comprises Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, senior officials from the Department of Health and Public Health England and some ministers and senior civil servants. 

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: 'I ask all Greater Manchester residents - young and old alike - to protect each other by observing these new requirements'

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: ‘I ask all Greater Manchester residents – young and old alike – to protect each other by observing these new requirements’

He later tweeted a list of what he 'understands' the newly imposed measures will include

He later tweeted a list of what he ‘understands’ the newly imposed measures will include

WHICH PLACES IN ENGLAND HAVE TOUGHER COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS? 

The following locations have restrictions in place which are different to those set out across the whole of England. 

Oldham, Greater Manchester

Tuesday July 28 

  • Residents are being told they cannot have ‘social visitors’ to their home.
  • People must keep two metres away from friends and family if they see them outside, avoiding hugging and shaking hands.
  • Care homes will not relax restrictions on visiting to protect older and vulnerable people.    

Friday July 31

  • Vulnerable and elderly people who have been shielding have been asked to to continue to do so for another two weeks.

Blackburn with Darwen 

Tuesday July 14

  • Five new measures were introduced for all residents; reducing the numbers allowed to visit households to two; asking residents to wear a face covering in all enclosed public spaces; encouraging people to be tested; asking people to only bump elbows rather than handshake; stepping up advice and support to small shops to keep them safe. 

Saturday July 25

  • The Department of Health said new regulations will be signed by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to make Blackburn exempt from the national lockdown changes – the opening of indoor gyms, pools, and other sport and exercise facilities.  

Leicester

Monday June 29 

  • People were asked to continue to follow stricter lockdown restrictions for at least two weeks in a ‘local lockdown’.
  • Non-essential shops were asked to close after re-opening on June 15.
  • The city’s bars, restaurants and hairdressers did not open on July 4 as planned. 

Thursday July 16

  • Health Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock announced that lockdown measures in Leicester City had to stay in place for another two weeks. It meant the measures introduced in the rest of the England to open the hospitality sector would not apply in Leicester.

Saturday July 18

  • Additional lockdown restrictions ended in Charnwood and Blaby on 18 July. These areas have returned to national social distancing guidelines. 
  • In Leicester City, and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, non-essential shops, schools and educational settings can now reopen. Single-adult households can still form a support bubble with one other household. People are still able to meet in a group of up to six and only outdoors, provided they follow strict social distancing.

Luton

 Thursday July 23

  • All residents have been urged to keep a two metre distance from people from outside their household ‘at all times’. Where this is not possible, a face mask must be worn in ‘all enclosed public spaces’. 
  • Residents have been told to not make social visits to other people’s homes or private gardens. If meeting up with others socially, they must do so outside in an open space or park.
  • Large group meetings should not exceed a maximum of six people (unless they live in the same house) 

Friday July 31 

  • Luton was removed as an area of intervention, meaning that indoor gyms, swimming pools and fitness studios that had to remain closed will be allowed to open from the week commencing August 3. 
  • Those who have been shielding have been asked to continue to do so until 17 August, but with slightly changed guidelines that will be told to them by letter or on the phone. 

 

The lockdown covers a much greater area than Leicester’s, which was imposed on June 29 and will be eased from Monday.

Pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants will reopen in the locked-down city from August 3, Labour MP Liz Kendall announced last night.

People will also be permitted to go on holiday with their own household, but leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed. 

Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, urged locals to adhere to the new rules.

He said: ‘Over recent days, there has been a marked change in the picture across Greater Manchester with regard to the spread of Covid-19.

‘We have gone from a falling rate of cases in nearly all of our boroughs last week to a rising rate in nine out of 10 affecting communities across a much wider geography. 

‘In Rochdale, the one borough where cases have fallen, they are still too high.

‘We have always said that we will remain vigilant and be ready to respond quickly should the need arise. 

‘In line with that approach, I have agreed with the Health Secretary that it is right to act on the precautionary principle and introduce modest measures now to bring down the rate of new infections.

‘I ask all Greater Manchester residents – young and old alike – to protect each other by observing these new requirements. They will be reviewed weekly; meaning the more we stick to them, the quicker they will be removed.

‘This is a place which prides itself on looking out for each other. We now need to be true to that by not acting selfishly and keeping the health of others in mind at all times.’

But the timing and manner of Mr Hancock’s announcement drew criticism from Labour.

Sir Keir Starmer noted how when Downing Street concluded its daily briefings regarding the virus in June, ministers promised to still hold conferences for ‘significant announcements.’

‘It’s hard to imagine what could be more significant than this,’ he said. 

Taking to Twitter, Sir Keir added: ‘No one would argue with putting in place local action to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

‘But announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis.

‘For all the bluster, government has failed to deliver a functioning track and trace system that would spot local flare ups like these.

‘The people of Greater Manchester now need urgent clarity and explanation from the government – and there must be proper support for those businesses and people affected by any lockdown.’

Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy added: ‘The Government’s shambolic announcement of local lockdown measures on Twitter tonight is the result of its total failure to deliver the functioning track and trace system it promised the country.

‘Boris Johnson is asleep at the wheel.’

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said the decision was the ‘right’ one.

She tweeted: ‘The UK government is right to act quickly if they think the situation warrants it.

‘But this is a sharp reminder that the threat of this virus is still very real. Please abide by the all FACTS advice and stay safe.’

Mr Johnson had yesterday urged the UK not to ‘delude’ itself into thinking the pandemic was over as he warned of up to 30 places where outbreaks were ‘bubbling up’. 

On a visit to North Yorkshire, Mr Johnson said there would be ‘real consequences’ that would put the economic recovery in jeopardy if the virus was allowed to make a ‘damaging’ comeback.

His cautious message came as Mr Hancock warned there was a ‘second wave rolling across Europe’ and the country must ‘do everything in our power to stop it reaching our shores’.

Challenged on whether his remarks were risking hysteria at a time when infection levels in the UK are still significantly down from their peak, Mr Hancock told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m the Health Secretary in the middle of a global pandemic, so you’ll excuse me for being concerned about the health of the British people and that is absolutely at the front of my mind.’

Ministers were yesterday warned not to fuel hysteria over a resurgence in the virus, with Labour MP Chris Bryant saying: ‘It makes me so angry that the Government are so loose with their language. There isn’t a second wave rolling out across Europe.’

Mr Johnson is also coming under pressure from within his own party not to panic over the rise in infection rates. 

A group of more than 30 backbenchers led by Henry Smith is expected to send him a letter today that calls for the introduction of testing at airports to help travellers reduce the length of time they have to quarantine for if they arrive from an at-risk country.

By the end of May, England had seen the highest overall relative excess mortality out of 21 European countries compared by the Office for National Statistics. But the hardest hit nations were Italy and Spain which suffered the largest spikes

By the end of May, England had seen the highest overall relative excess mortality out of 21 European countries compared by the Office for National Statistics. But the hardest hit nations were Italy and Spain which suffered the largest spikes

The manner of the late-night announcement was criticised heavily by Keir Starmer, who said the sudden statement marked a 'new low for the Government's communications during this crisis'

The manner of the late-night announcement was criticised heavily by Keir Starmer, who said the sudden statement marked a ‘new low for the Government’s communications during this crisis’

Leicester will reopen pubs and restaurants from Monday

Pubs and restaurants will reopen in Leicester from Monday alongside hairdressers, cinemas and museums. 

Leisure centres, gyms and public swimming pools will stay closed and restrictions on household visits will stay in place. 

The city went through an extra month of lockdown, imposed at the end of last month, while the rest of the country saw restrictions lifted. 

And its residents were hoping the government would announce a complete end to their local lockdown. 

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced last night on Twitter that people from different households in Leicester, and other parts of northern England, wouldn’t be allowed to meet indoors.  

Leicester’s mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, told The Times: ‘We’ve been messed about all day. They were going to make the announcement earlier, then 4pm then 5pm. 

‘I haven’t a clue what’s going on. I don’t even know who’s taking the decision and they certainly don’t involve anybody who knows anything about our city. 

‘Just hoping they decide to let us out of this crude city-wide lockdown.’ 

Leicester’s lockdown saw restrictions lifted on schools and nurseries last week and some non-essential shops were allowed to reopen. 

Mosques and other places of worship will also be reopened and Jon Ashworth, the Labour MP for Leicester South, urged Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Adha ‘with your own household at home’.   

Liz Kendall, the Labour MP for Leicester West, said the government’s handling of the local lockdown had been ‘totally shambolic’.  

According to Public Health England, roughly 164 have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Leicester in the past week – 0.05 per cent of its population.    

Before the dispute about the local lockdown Mr Hancock announced a £3million package for companies that had been unable to reopen in Leicester.

 He said: ‘I absolutely understand the huge implications remaining in lockdown has meant for those in the city.’

Lord Lamont, the Tory ex-chancellor, last night urged ministers not to lose focus on the economic recovery and warned them against taking blanket measures across the whole economy.

He said: ‘The one thing we cannot afford is another total lockdown. The economy has got a long uphill struggle.’ 

The Mail revealed earlier this week how the Prime Minister is ‘extremely concerned’ about the possibility a second spike of infections could start in the next two weeks. 

His remarks in recent days come in stark contrast to his message a fortnight ago when he expressed hope that all social distancing restrictions may be ditched in time for Christmas.

Yesterday, Mr Johnson insisted Britain has had ‘massive success’ in bringing down mortality rates but warned: ‘I have to tell you we’re looking at a resurgence of the virus in some other European countries, you can see what’s been happening in the United States.

‘So it is absolutely vital as a country we continue to keep our focus and discipline, and that we don’t delude ourselves that somehow we’re out of the woods or that this is all over, because it isn’t all over.’

Despite the rise in the level of infections, the numbers are still way below the peak on May 1 when 6,201 cases were confirmed in just one day.

Mr Smith, whose Crawley constituency includes Gatwick Airport, last night said: ‘Testing should play a much larger role in giving people confidence to travel.’

Do I have to cancel my wedding? Can I still celebrate Eid? Your questions answered as 4.5million people in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire are hit by new lockdown

What has the Government announced?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire will be banned from meeting each other in their homes and in their gardens from midnight.

Which areas are affected?

The new restrictions apply to the whole of Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire including Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale as well as Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire.

The same restrictions will also apply to Leicester, which saw the first so-called ‘local lockdown’ imposed on June 29.

What does this mean for the people living there?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the new measures will mean people in these areas will not be permitted to mix with other households outside those in their support bubbles in private homes or gardens.

Households will be able to go to bars, pubs and other hospitality venues but two households should not go together, the department added.

The DHSC said that restrictions currently in place in Blackburn which saw indoor swimming pools, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports facilities remaining closed will continue.

Why is this being done?

In a series of tweets Mr Hancock said that there had been an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.

He said that this was due to ‘households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules’ and the new rules were being put in place in order to ‘keep the country safe’.

How will the restrictions be enforced?

The Government said it will sign new regulations to make the changes ‘legally enforceable’ and will give local authorities and police forces the powers to enforce these restrictions.

How fast is the virus spreading?

According to the most recent figures from Public Health England (PHE) the rate of infection is increasing across 13 of the 19 local authorities in the areas where the new measures are being imposed.

In Blackburn with Darwen, the rate has risen from 83.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 20 to 89.3 in the seven days to July 27. A total of 133 new cases have been recorded.

Leicester has the second highest seven-day rate despite it falling from 67.8 per 100,000 people to 60.2 over the same period, with 214 new cases.

Over the same period the rate has also increased in Manchester, Burnley, Pendle, Bradford, Calderdale, Oldham, Bury, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan, but fell in Hyndburn, Rossendale, Kirklees, Bolton and Rochdale.

Rochdale, Oldham, Blackburn and Pendle have been on a PHE watchlist as an ‘area of concern’ after elevated rates of infection.

What is happening in Leicester?

The DHSC said that from Monday restaurants, cafes, bars and hairdressers in Leicester can open again in line with the easing of restrictions across the rest of the country on July 4.

Leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed but cinemas and museums will open and religious ceremonies will be able to take place, it added.

The department said that all local restrictions currently in place in the neighbouring borough of Oadby and Wigston will end.

But Mr Hancock said that the restrictions on social gatherings imposed on Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire would also apply to the city of Leicester.

Does my household include close family members?

Your household – as defined in law – is only the people you live with. If you have formed a support bubble (which must include a single adult household i.e. people who live alone or single parents with dependent children aged under 18) these can be treated as if they are members of your household.

What will be illegal?

It will be illegal for people who do not live together to meet in a private home or garden, except for limited exceptions to be set out in law. You should not host or visit people you do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble. If you live in the affected areas, you should not visit someone’s home or garden regardless of whether this is in or outside of the restricted area.

Can I still meet indoors with people in my support bubble?

Yes. Where people from single adult households (people who live alone or single parents with dependent children aged under 18) have formed a support bubble with another household, they can continue to visit each other, stay overnight, and visit other public places as if they were one household.

Can I still meet people outdoors?

In line with the national guidance, you can continue to meet in public outdoor spaces in groups of no more than six people, unless the group includes only people from two households. You cannot meet people you do not live within a private garden.

At all times, you should socially distance from people you do not live with – unless they are in your support bubble.

I live in this area. Can I still meet with my family and friends to celebrate Eid?

Due to higher rates of infection, if you live in this area you should not host or visit friends and family in each other’s homes or gardens. It will shortly be illegal to do so, unless specific exemptions apply. You also should not meet friends and family in other venues – including restaurants or cafes.

Up to two households, or six people from any number of households may meet outdoors (excluding people’s gardens) where there is a lower risk of infection. If you do so, you should still socially distance from those you do not live with, and avoid physical contact.

You may attend a mosque or other place or worship, where Covid-19 Secure guidance applies, but you must socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings). We recommend at this time that, if possible, prayer/religious services take place outdoors.

Can I still go to work in this area?

Yes. People living inside and outside of this area can continue to travel in and out for work. Workplaces must implement Covid-19 Secure guidance.

I live in this area. Can I still go to cafes, restaurants, the gym and other public places?

Yes. But you should only go with members of your own household – even if you are going outside of the restricted area.

I live in the area. Can people from outside of the lockdown area visit me at my house?

No. This will be illegal.

Do I still have to shield if I live in this area?

Clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer have to follow the shielding guidance from the 1 August, unless they live in Blackburn with Darwen in the North West and other local affected areas across England where shielding continues.

Can I visit a care home?

You should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.

Can I still have my wedding if it’s in the lockdown area?

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies in these areas can still go ahead. No more than 30 people should attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. Further guidance can be found here.

Large wedding receptions or parties should not currently be taking place and any celebration after the ceremony should follow the broader social distancing guidance of involving no more than two households in any location or, if outdoors, up to six people from different households.

Can I travel outside of the lockdown area to attend a wedding ceremony?

Yes.

Can I travel into the lockdown area to attend a wedding ceremony?

Yes. Weddings should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

People living outside the lockdown areas may travel into the areas to attend a wedding, but should not go into a private home or garden.

Can I still visit a place of worship in the lockdown area?

Yes, but you must socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (e.g. face coverings). We recommend at this time that if possible prayer/religious services take place outdoors.

Can funerals still take place in the lockdown areas?

Yes. Funerals should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

People living outside the lockdown areas may travel into the areas to attend a funeral.

Can I holiday in the lockdown area, or visit shops, leisure facilities, or cafes in it?

Yes. However, you must avoid socialising with people indoors when doing so.

Can I travel in a car with someone I do not live with?

You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, try to:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • open windows for ventilation
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow face away from each other
  • consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering

When will the lockdown be reviewed?

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said the measures would be reviewed on a weekly basis.