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Lockdown Q&A: Where are restrictions being lifted?

By PA News

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Matt Hancock said it was vital to maintain good progress (Victoria Jones/PA)

Lockdown restrictions will be lifted in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire, where coronavirus cases have decreased.

From next week, more than one million people can meet family and friends from different households, with social distancing, for the first time in more than a month.

Here is what is happening and where.

– In which areas are restrictions being lifted?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said a drop in virus rates in the following areas means restrictions on two households mixing will be dropped from next Wednesday.

They are: Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley and Hyndburn, parts of Bradford excluding Bradford city and Keighley town, parts of Calderdale excluding Halifax, and parts of Kirklees excluding Dewsbury and Batley.

Theatres, casinos, bowling alleys and other venues which reopened across the rest of England on August 15 will also now open in the above areas.

– Where do the restrictions remain?

Leicester has seen “some improvements” but restrictions there will continue for another two weeks at least “as cases remain high” said the DHSC.

A ban on two households mixing indoors will remain in the city of Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Bury and Tameside in Greater Manchester.

In Oldham, in addition to different households being banned from meeting indoors, residents should avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere.

In Lancashire, residents of Pendle and Blackburn should not meet other households anywhere, and some businesses remain closed in Blackburn with Darwen.

The ban on two households mixing indoors will also continue in Preston.

In West Yorkshire, urban areas of Bradford still have a ban on indoor household gatherings, and some businesses and organisations remain closed.

In Kirklees, the ban on indoor household gatherings continues in Dewsbury and Batley. The ban also continues in parts of Calderdale.

Those in the clinically vulnerable groups shielding in Blackburn with Darwen, and Leicester should continue to do so, the DHSC said.

– What are the infection rates like?

Figures calculated by the PA news agency show that for the seven days to August 25, Pendle had the highest rate in England, followed by Blackburn with Darwen and Oldham.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

In Pendle, 52 new cases were recorded – the equivalent of 56.5 per 100,000 people. This is the highest rate in England, but it is down from 68.4 in the seven days to August 18.

The rate in Blackburn with Darwen is 54.1, down from 58.8, with 81 new cases.

It is vital we can maintain this good progress
Health Secretary Matt Hancock

Oldham is third, where the rate has fallen from 75.1 to 54.0, with 128 new cases.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’re seeing the positive results of our local approach, and are able to bring in increasingly targeted measures.

“It is vital we can maintain this good progress.

“I have every faith that people across the country, especially in areas where we are seeing higher numbers of cases, will continue to play their part by following local rules, and self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms.”

– How about masks?

New legislation formalised this week means not wearing a face covering where it is mandated, like public transport and supermarkets, could see rule flouters fined £100 initially, doubling for each repeat offence up to a maximum £3,200.

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