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Tighter rules on social mixing announced for four new areas

Written by on 1 October 2020

Tougher coronavirus restrictions are being imposed on people living in the Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said residents in the areas should not socially mix with those from other households – except in outdoor spaces like parks and outdoor hospitality settings.

And he warned against “all but essential travel” – meaning people can still go to work and school.

Liverpool has seen cases rise to 268 per 100,000 people

The government has not confirmed when the changes will come into effect.

Mr Hancock said the measures are needed because “in some parts of the country, the virus is spreading fast”, with cases shooting up to 268 per 100,000 people in Liverpool.

The infection numbers in real time

The infection numbers in real time

But the second spike in COVID-19 cases is “highly localised”, he claimed, adding recent actions are having a “positive impact”.

“What we’re doing to respond to these awful circumstances is starting to work, so don’t let up,” he said in a Commons statement on Thursday.

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“Let’s all of us keep doing our bit and one day, over this virus, we will prevail.”

But the restrictions were branded “unacceptable” by Andy Preston, the executive mayor of Middlesbrough.

He said he had tried communicating with the government but “they didn’t listen” and the new “unacceptable” measures are “based on ignorance” that will “kill viable jobs and damage mental health”.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth also said many regions subject to local lockdowns are seeing cases rise not fall, so asked: “Why are the moles not getting whacked?”

From the shops to the skies - tracking the UK economy's recovery from lockdown

From the shops to the skies – tracking the UK economy’s recovery from lockdown

And Tory backbencher Philip Davies attacked ministers’ “arbitrary, nanny state, socialist approach”.

He warned issues like the 10pm curfew for pubs are “serving no purpose at all apart from to further collapse the economy and erode our freedoms”.