Parts of England and Scotland are now subject to ”local lockdowns” to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Extra restrictions are being imposed in Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn, which were already under a local lockdown, from midnight on Saturday. Separate households will now be banned from meeting up outdoors as well as indoors.
However, tighter rules are being dropped in Wigan, Darwen and Rossendale. They have all under restrictions along with other parts of Lancashire, including Preston, parts of West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
What measures are being taken?
Local lockdown rules vary from place to place.
You can check the exact areas which are under increased restrictions on the government website.
In Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, people can still visit pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but only with members of their household.
They can also meet up to six people from different households in an outdoor public place, except now in Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn. People in those areas are being told not to meet indoors or now outdoors with people from outside their household from Saturday 22 August.
Businesses such as ice rinks and casinos must remain closed in the areas with local lockdowns.
In some parts of Blackburn with Darwen, indoor gyms, swimming pools and other sports facilities will be able to reopen.
Shielding advice is constantly being reassessed across the UK.
What has Leicester’s local lockdown involved?
The UK’s first local lockdown was in Leicester, after infections rose there at the beginning of July.
Non-essential shops were told to close, while bars and restaurants couldn’t reopen with the rest of England.
The latest list of premises that can open as of 20 August includes nail bars and beauty salons, but leisure centres, gyms and pools remain closed.
The borough of Oadby and Wigston on the city’s outskirts has also come out of local lockdown, although shielding still applies there.
Why have the latest restrictions happened?
Local clusters or outbreaks are being targeted to stop the spread as quickly as possible and prevent a national lockdown.
A cluster is a group of cases in one place like a hospital, factory or school. When clusters are linked, this is called an outbreak.
Data showing the number of cases in a particular place is used to help decide what action should be taken.
Cases are also identified through testing, with mobile units and door-to-door testing often taken to at-risk places.
Public Health England has also produced a watchlist of areas, based on new coronavirus infection rates, and other local intelligence.
Why are there local lockdowns?
Local authorities and central government have been given new powers to stop specific outbreaks of Covid-19.
These actions could range from targeting a hospital or factory, to locking down a whole city.
Local authorities were given powers to:
- Close specific premises
- Shut outdoor spaces
- Cancel events
- Close sectors or types of premises in local areas
- Introduce localised stay at home orders
- Reduce the maximum size of gatherings
- Restrict the use of transport
- Stop people leaving a certain area
Can police enforce a lockdown?
Police have powers to enforce a local lockdown. For example, if they believe that somebody is staying away overnight, they can tell them to return home.
They can also fine people for breaking the rules, and may issue a “prohibition notice” directing somebody not to do something.
But if a resident from a locked-down area wanted to go to a bar in another part of the city, for example, there is nothing legally to stop them.
Instead, the government hopes people’s sense of civic responsibility will see them follow guidance to stay at home.
What has been said about the rest of the UK?
A local lockdown was considered in Anglesey after an outbreak in June, Public Health Wales says, but it didn’t happen.
In Northern Ireland, the government says that any potential clusters or outbreaks will be handled using “appropriate infection control” in line with its guidelines for handling any disease outbreak.
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