Covid spike sparks call for continued restrictions

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Reuters

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Bolton has had its highest seven-day rate since late May

A spike in coronavirus cases in Bolton has prompted council bosses to ask for restrictions to remain in place – a day before they were due to be lifted.

Tighter rules were introduced in July in Greater Manchester and parts of Yorkshire after concerns the virus was being spread between households.

Bolton has had its highest seven-day rate since late May, with 129 new cases recorded in the week up to 28 August.

The council said it had made the decision “with a heavy heart”.

On Friday, the government said measures banning people from different households from meeting indoors or private gardens would be lifted in Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley, Hyndburn and parts of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.

But the council said the “unforeseen spike” in the local infection rate means restrictions should remain in place “until further notice”.

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PA Media

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Tighter Covid-19 rules were introduced in Greater Manchester in July

The decision would also mean that certain businesses, including those offering close-contact services, will not reopen as planned.

Council leader David Greenhalgh said the infection rate in Bolton stands at 56.4 per 100,000.

He said: “It is with a heavy heart that [we] have come to this decision and this will be incredibly disappointing for both residents and business owners.

“We urged the government to lift Bolton out of the additional restrictions at a time when infection rates were low. This was the right decision at the time.

“However, there has been a sudden and unforeseeable rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Bolton. We have always been led by the data, which means we have no choice but to act quickly to keep everyone safe.”

The council said new cases in Bolton are spread across the borough and are not limited to a single area, community, or place of work.

Infections between different households appear to be the main cause of the spike, with people aged 18-49 representing the overwhelming majority of new cases, it said.

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