Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough placed under social lockdown as cases soar

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Coronavirus UK live news: Infection rates continuing to rise - Powis
Coronavirus UK live news: Infection rates continuing to rise - Powis

A ban on different households meeting will be introduced amid further restrictions for the north of England after a spike in coronavirus cases.

In an extension of the measures introduced last week in northeast England, households will be banned from mixing in all settings except for in parks and outside pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Residents are advised only to visit care homes in “exceptional circumstances”, and to only use public transport for essential journeys, which include going to work and school.

The new rules will come into effect at midnight on Friday night, Downing Street later confirmed.

“I understand how much of an imposition this is,” the health secretary said. “I want rules like this to stay in place for as short a time as possible.”

Existing measures in Bolton will be aligned with those in Greater Manchester, he added.

Liverpool’s metro mayor Steve Rotherham had earlier described the looming new measures as likely “more draconian” than those introduced just last week, and likely to carry an “emotional impact”.

But the government “has to do something”, he said, warning that “all of our figures are going badly in the wrong direction”.

In Liverpool, 1,287 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the seven days up to 27 September, the equivalent of 258.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Despite Merseyside having already been subject to additional local restrictions, Liverpool’s rate is the third highest in the country. Neighbouring borough Knowsley has the second highest rate, with 261.8 cases per 100,000.

Last week, the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care in the Royal Liverpool Hospital hit double figures, as clinicians warned of a significant rise in hospital admissions.

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