UK

Lancashire expected to be placed under tighter lockdown measures

Lancashire is to be the latest part of the UK to face strict coronavirus lockdown rules – with drastic new curbs being introduced this weekend, Sky News understands.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told senior MPs from the county that he will announce the clampdown in the morning and the rules will come into force on Saturday.

The coronavirus restrictions, similar to those being introduced in North East England, will cover the whole of Lancashire with the exception of two thirds of the seaside resort of Blackpool.

They will apply in the boroughs of Preston, Lancaster, Wyre, Fylde, Chorley, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Ribble Valley, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, and Rossendale.

Four of these boroughs – Hyndburn, Preston, Burnley, and Blackburn with Darwen – are among the 10 worst affected areas in England.

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There is also speculation that another big city in northern England, Leeds, could also be added to the lockdown list by Mr Hancock.

In contrast with the North East, Lancashire's new local rules are not expected to feature a 10pm curfew for bars and pubs and a ban on people mixing with others outside their household.

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The restrictions for Lancashire, on which Mr Hancock is expected to be quizzed following a Commons statement on Monday, will outlaw socialising with different households in homes, private gardens, public parks, restaurants, and pub beer gardens.

There will also be curbs on using public transport, with advice urging people to use buses and trains only for essential trips such as education, work, and health appointments.

One senior Lancashire MP told Sky News the new rules were welcomed by the majority of MPs, Labour and Conservative, in the county.

"We want to get this over with as quickly as possible," the MP said.

"We want this over by Christmas. We don't want to lose Christmas."

The government's decision, which is backed by Lancashire's council leaders and health chiefs, comes after the county saw its largest daily rise in new cases yet, with a further 250 people confirmed to have the virus

It is unclear why parts of Blackpool are being left out of local restrictions.

Mr Hancock confirmed the measures for the North East in a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday, following government talks with local councils and MPs.

They will take effect from Friday in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.

The restrictions will include:

  • Residents being told not to socialise with people outside their household or social bubble
  • Table service only in bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants
  • All bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes and other leisure and entertainment venues to close between 10pm and 5am

The UK recorded another 3,395 COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 21 more deaths.

Mr Hancock told MPs: "Like many other countries around the world, we're continuing to see a concerning rise in cases.

Image: Members of the public walk through the city centre of Preston

"And this week the number of patients in mechanical ventilator beds has risen above 100 for the first time since July.

"The battle against coronavirus is not over."

It is also being reported that Merseyside is to be placed under Read More – Source