Politics

First of England’s pubs ordered back into lockdown as Bolton is shut down over coronavirus spike


THE first of England’s pubs have been ordered to shut as Bolton is put back into lockdown over a coronavirus spike.

The Health Secretary announced a raft of new lockdown restrictions for the Northern town after cases spiralled to the highest rate in the country at 120 per 100,000 in the last week.

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Bolton has been placed back into lockdown due to a spike in Covid cases

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Bolton has been placed back into lockdown due to a spike in Covid casesCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
Hospitality businesses will only be able to sell takeaways and have to close between 10pm and 5am

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Hospitality businesses will only be able to sell takeaways and have to close between 10pm and 5amCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
Rule breakers could face £100 fines

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Rule breakers could face £100 finesCredit: SWNS:South West News Service

Hospitality businesses will only be able to sell takeaways and have to close between 10pm and 5am to stop the spread of the virus even further.

And rules preventing households from meeting in public will also be enshrined in law, meaning people will face £100 fines for breaking rules.

The Health Secretary told MPs that the virus ” is partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s” and “we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly”.

Hospitality businesses including cafes and bars will have to be restricted, with all places shut early.

And visitor restrictions will be put into place in care homes in Bolton.

The new rules will come into place today, but it’s not clear what time.

They are the first pubs to be shut in England, after bars were forced to close in Aberdeen last month after a local outbreak there.

Mr Hancock said today in the House of Commons: “We all have a part to play.

“Together we can tackle this, so long as we remember our actions today are consequences tomorrow.

“Each and every citizen has a responsibility to follow social distancing.

“This virus remains with us and remains a threat.”

It’s the first town to face such restrictions where businesses have been ordered to shut again since the national lockdown.

In Leicester they were forced to stay closed following a spike in cases over the summer.

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It comes after:

On Saturday evening people in Bolton were told to avoid mixing with other households anywhere – and to avoid public transport unless it was essential.

More than 90 per cent of cases in the area are in the 18 to 49 age group.

The Conservative leader of Bolton Council, councillor David Greenhalgh, said: “This is not something we want to do but it is clear the virus is currently moving round the borough uncontrolled and so we need to halt the transmission rate.

“If we do not get control of the virus now we will continue to put our most vulnerable residents at risk and delay any return to normality.”

He blamed “irresponsible actions of a few” which meant the Government “had no choice” but to take action.

Other areas at risk of local lockdown rules

  • In Bolton, 369 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 5 – the equivalent of 128.3 per 100,000 people. This is the highest rate in England and it is up sharply from 61.9 in the seven days to August 29.
  • The rate in Bradford has also increased sharply, from 49.1 to 74.7 with 403 new cases.
  • Birmingham is in third place, where the rate has risen from 30.5 to 69.1, with 789 new cases.
  • Salford (up from 38.2 to 63.4, with 164 new cases)
  • Manchester (up from 41.4 to 62.8, with 347 new cases)
  • Sunderland (up from 8.6 to 57.3, with 159 new cases)
  • Leeds (up from 32.5 to 56.1, with 445 new cases)
  • Liverpool (up from 15.1 to 46.2, with 230 new cases)

Dr Helen Lowey, the council’s director of public health, said the decisin was not taken lightly.

He added: “We can assure you that we have taken all the data into consideration and we are left with no alternative.”

However, there’s nothing to stop people in Bolton from heading over to Manchester or other non-locked down towns to try and get a pint or go out for a meal.

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Mr Hancock warned that “while young people are less likely to die, be in no doubt they are still at risk” from coronavirus.

He stressed the Government were pinning their hopes on securing a avccine in the coming months.

And he said that ministers have signed deals with six separate vaccine developers for early access to 340million doses of vaccine if they are proven to work.

But earlier this week he suggested that it’s not likely one would be found until after Christmas.

People in Western Scotland in parts of Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire are having their restrictions kept in place for another week, too.

They aren’t allowed to visit households as part of bids to stop it spreading.

NEW MEETING RULES

Earlier No10 did not deny reports that the first national restrictions in months could come into place within days.

Sources said there would be a “toughening up” of rules to try and control the coronavirus.

The law may be changed to make it illegal for groups of more than six to meet inside.

Downing Street has said the Government is taking the latest rise in coronavirus cases “extremely seriously” and would not hesitate to introduce fresh restrictions if required.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said earlier: “We are taking the rise in infections which has been reported in recent days extremely seriously.

“Throughout the pandemic we have kept all of (the) regulations under review and we will not hesitate to act if further steps are needed to protect the NHS and to save lives.”

Bolton will see new rules with restaurants and pubs allowed to do takeaway only

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Bolton will see new rules with restaurants and pubs allowed to do takeaway onlyCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
People will be ordered to stay away from other households with new laws

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People will be ordered to stay away from other households with new lawsCredit: Rex Features
Some businesses will be made to close

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Some businesses will be made to closeCredit: Alamy
Matt Hancock announced a new local lockdown in Bolton today

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Matt Hancock announced a new local lockdown in Bolton today

Despite pushing a back to work message for weeks and encouraging Brits to go out and help keep bars and restaurants afloat, ministers are now seeming more cautious after two days of high case numbers.

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The PM told ministers today at Cabinet that he was concerned at the rise in cases.

He said that “in other countries which had seen an increase in infections, this was followed a number of weeks later by a rise in hospitalisations.

A spokesperson said this lunchtime: “The PM said that what had taken place elsewhere was that young people had gone on to infect older generations, who had become seriously ill, and it was vital to ensure that did not happen here.

“The PM said the Government must remain extremely vigilant and ensure that there was no complacency from the public, and young people in particular, in following the guidance on how to prevent the virus from spreading.”

 

England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said a surge in cases in the 17 to 21 age group has now become increasingly worrying – as they may then go on to pass the virus onto their parents, and grandparents.

This could see a huge spike in the current death rate as older people are less likely to be able to fight it.

Mr Van Tam added the wild parties witnessed across the country after lockdown measures were eased have now started to take their toll.

He revealed the “downstream consequences” of the gatherings are that the country is now seeing increased cases of transmission and faces a “bumpy ride” ahead.

Prof Van-Tam added: “I am quite concerned that we must take this seriously so that we don’t end up with a spreading problem over the next few weeks and months.”

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the latest increase in coronavirus cases is “very worrying”.

He told Radio 4: “That is what we are really keeping a close eye on – the extent to which it moves away from these local outbreaks to broader community transmission.”

Bars will have to close at 10pm

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Bars will have to close at 10pmCredit: Rex Features
Tougher restrictions introduced in Bolton after spike in Covid-19 cases





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