Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people from different households have been barred from meeting indoors in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire and parts of East Lancashire. “We’re constantly looking at the latest data on the spread of coronavirus, and unfortunately we’ve seen an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England,” he said.
“We’ve been working with local leaders across the region, and today I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee. Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire & East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe.”
Mr Hancock said the spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing.
“So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas,” he said.
“We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe.”
The tightening of restrictions follows similar action taken in Leicester earlier this month to curb surging infection rates.
Britain is one of a number of European countries to have rising cases of coronavirus in recent days, prompting fears of a second wave of the deadly pandemic.
Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “Over recent days, there has been a marked change in the picture across Greater Manchester with regard to the spread of Covid-19.
“We have gone from a falling rate of cases in nearly all of our boroughs last week to a rising rate in nine out of ten affecting communities across a much wider geography.
“In Rochdale, the one borough where cases have fallen, they are still too high.
“We have always said that we will remain vigilant and be ready to respond quickly should the need arise. In line with that approach, I have agreed with the Health Secretary that it is right to act on the precautionary principle and introduce modest measures now to bring down the rate of new infections.
“I ask all Greater Manchester residents – young and old alike – to protect each other by observing these new requirements.”
The new measures will be reviewed weekly.
The affected areas include all of 2.8 million residents of greater Manchester, as well as the Lancashire towns of Blackburn, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendelle.
And in Yorkshire, Bradford Calderdale and Kirklees were also hit.