Bolton lockdown: New COVID law will make it illegal for people to mix with other households

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock giving a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London.
Health secretary Matt Hancock giving a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London. (PA)

It will soon become illegal to meet or socialise with anyone from outside of your own household in Bolton, the health secretary has announced.

Announcing tough new coronavirus restrictions on the north-west England town, which has become a particular concern for the government, Matt Hancock said people in their 20s and 30s have been socialising and that has led to a spike in cases.

He added that authorities have identified a number of pubs where the virus had spread, and now venues will need to close between 10pm and 5am. Hospitality venues will be limited to takeaways.

Watch: Health Secretary Matt Hancock announces new Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Bolton

Guidance on mixing outside of your own household would become law, Hancock said. Current advice allows for meeting your support bubble, but not with other households indoors or outdoors.

Visitors restrictions will also be introduced to try and stop the virus spreading into care homes and hospitals, he added.

Hancock told parliament, amid fears of a second wave of COVID-19 cases, that “just because we’ve come through one peak, it does not mean we cannot see another one coming”.

It comes after COVID-19 cases rose by 2,988 across the UK on Sunday and 2,948 on Monday, following a significant rise of 1,813 on Saturday.

The increases have worried health officials, who have stressed the importance of maintaining social distancing with the looming threat of a second wave over winter.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said the cases were rising in people aged 17 – 29 and insisted “we all need to protect others”.

On Monday, deputy chief medical officer for England Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the rises were “of great concern at this point”.

“We’ve been able to relax a bit over the summer, the disease levels have been really quite low in the UK through the summer but these latest figures really show us that much as people might like to say ‘oh well it’s gone away’ – this hasn’t gone away,” he said.

“And if we’re not careful, if we don’t take this incredibly seriously from this point in we’re going to have a bumpy ride over the next few months.”

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Hancock previously spoke of his worry about a second wave, telling LBC on Monday: “The rise in the number of cases we have seen in the last few days is concerning.

“It is concerning because we have seen a rise in cases in France, in Spain, in some other countries across Europe – nobody wants to see a second wave here.

“It just reinforces the point that people must follow the social distancing rules, they are so important.”

When asked if people were not following the rules he added: “We certainly see cases where they are not, and then we take action.”

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