Local lockdowns are being imposed across the UK for areas with spiking coronavirus cases – and a large swathe of the North continues to face lockdown conditions. Greater Manchester was put under local lockdown at the end of July, and now enters the third week of restrictions as the area grapples with rising COVID-19 cases.
Leicester, parts of West Yorkshire and parts of Lancashire are also under lockdown conditions, as well as Aberdeen.
The Government and local councils are constantly reviewing local data to decide whether or not to ease restrictions.
Local leaders in the affected areas are also in the process of setting up enhanced incident teams to bring infection rates under control, with additional support from the government.
Health minister Edward Argar said: “I’d like to thank everyone in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester for their continued patience in following these vital rules put in place to tackle the spread of the disease – I know it hasn’t been easy.”
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For Manchester and the surrounding areas on lockdown, this would mean another review would have to take place by August 27.
However, when he revealed lockdown would be continuing last week, Mr Argar suggested there may be a review sooner than this.
He said: “We will review the measures again next week as part of our ongoing surveillance and monitoring of the latest data.”
Some areas in Greater Manchester are managing to drive down the infection rate, while others remain a cause for concern.
One such area of concern is Oldham, with local lockdown measures “very real threat” despite the “catastrophic” impact this may have on businesses.
Labour councillor Sean Fielding has said a local lockdown was being considered by the Government.
Data shows Oldham has one of the highest rates of new COVID-19 infections, even though it is within the restricted area which forbids different households from meeting indoors.
Speaking in an online press conference on Wednesday, Mr Fielding said local authorities were “resisting” a local lockdown.
He told reporters: “We’ve had communication from Government that it’s something that is genuinely being considered.
“So, it is very real. It is a very real threat for Oldham, make no mistake at all, but we are resisting it strongly for all of the reasons that I’ve set out today.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he would send a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to say there was “no case” when it came to tightening lockdown measures in Oldham.
Local leaders are worried about the impact a more restrictive lockdown would have on businesses after months of closures in the nationwide lockdown.
Speaking to BBC News on Wednesday, Mr Hancock did not rule out a local lockdown for the town.
He said: “Places like Oldham, where we are now seeing the number of cases rise, we have to take the same localised approach, working very closely with the local council, and make sure we get both the messages to the public and also the rules right in place and the resources, like the testing resources, to get a grip on it in all the areas where there is an outbreak, including Oldham.”
Leaders in Oldham have urged residents to act to avoid a more severe lockdown and the council enlisted the help of Game Of Thrones actor James Cosmo, who recorded a video reminding people of the guidelines.
Mr Cosmo, who played Jeor Mormont in the fantasy epic said: “Lockdown is coming if you don’t act now and follow the coronavirus guidelines.”