Preston is latest UK city to see lockdown tightened after infection rate rise


Preston is the latest part of the UK to face a tightening of lockdown measures after rising coronavirus infection rates were reported in the city.

The rolling seven-day rate of new cases of COVID-19 in the Lancashire city has risen from 20.3 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 27 July to 32.8 in the seven days to 3 August. A total of 47 new cases have been recorded in that period.

The restrictions around Greater Manchester will be extended to the city, meaning different households cannot meet indoors, from midnight tonight, the Department of Health has said.

Current restrictions on household gatherings in Greater Manchester, Leicester and parts of West Yorkshire will also continue.

And Bedford and Swindon have been added to the government’s “watchlist” of places where cases are rising.

The restrictions that come into place in Preston from midnight are:

  • You cannot have others in your homes and gardens
  • You cannot visit other people’s homes or gardens, even if they are in an unaffected area
  • You are not permitted to mix with other household in indoor venues

Social bubbles are exempt from the restrictions.

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Residents can meet in groups of up to six, or more than six if exclusively from two households, in outdoor areas such as parks and beer gardens.

Households can also visit indoor hospitality venues so long as they don’t mix with others.

Adrian Phillips, chief executive at Preston City Council, said: “The number of cases in Preston has increased rapidly in recent days leading to the government categorising the city as an area of intervention. It is also alarming to see that the under 30s are contracting it at a significant rate.

“It is clear that coronavirus is still here and we all need to work together to keep ourselves, our friends, families and communities safe from this virus.

“While some wards have recorded a higher level of cases, this remains a city wide issue and it’s essential that we all do our part to fight the virus.”

Angie Ridgwell, chief executive of Lancashire County Council and chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum which is leading the response to coronavirus in the county, added: “We understand that these restrictions are going to be disruptive to many people but it is a necessary step to protect the health of everyone in Preston and beyond.

“It is vitally important that everyone plays their part by adhering to these new restrictions. I want to be very clear – if we do not see a reduction in infections it is highly likely that more stringent measures will be introduced.”

Lancashire’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, said: “In the past week, the number of positive cases in Preston has increased significantly and it is extremely important that we act now to prevent the situation from getting any worse.

“The evidence is clear, we all need to take extra precautions to protect our loved ones.”

People wearing face mask as a precautionary measure against Covid-19, carry a shopping bag as the pass a boarded-up and temporarily closed pub in Dublin, on March 25, 2020, after Ireland introduced measures to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. - Ireland's prime minister Leo Varadkar on Tuesday announced that all non-essential businesses will shut from midnight  as part of the country's latest measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. "These are unprecedented actions to respond to an unprecedented emergency," he said, adding the measures would remain in place until at least April 19. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)
Pubs and restaurants in three Irish counties will need to close down again

New local restrictions will also be introduced in Ireland in the regions of Kildare, Laois and Offaly due to a surge in coronavirus cases, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has announced.

The restrictions, which require people to remain in those counties, will last two weeks and come into force on Saturday.

Restaurants, pubs, museums, cinemas and theatres in those areas will all close, as the country attempts to get a grip on the rise in positive coronavirus tests.

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