Liverpool, Warrington and parts of North East face tighter coronavirus restrictions

Matilda Long
·4-min read

Watch: Matt Hancock announces new restrictions for parts of northern England

Matt Hancock has announced a ban on mixing with other households in the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough after a spike in coronavirus infections.

The new rules will restrict social mixing for almost two million people.

The health secretary said indoor mixing between households will be illegal, and guidance will advise people not to mix with others in outdoor public spaces such as parks.

The measures mirror those introduced in the North East on Monday to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

Downing Street said they would come into force on Saturday morning at one minute past midnight.

Hancock told the Commons: “Earlier this week we brought in further measures in the North East, however in parts of Teesside and the north-west of England cases continue to rise fast.

“In Liverpool, the number of cases is 268 per 100,000 population, so together we need to act. Working with council leaders and the mayors, I’m today extending these measures that have been in the North East since the start of this week to the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

“We will provide £7 million to local authorities in these areas to support them with their vital work.”

The new rules apply to Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. (PA)
The new rules apply to Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. (PA)

Hancock said that the more people follow the rules, the quicker Liverpool and the North East can get back on their feet.

He told the Commons: “I understand how much of an imposition this is. I want rules like this to stay in place for as short a time as possible, I’m sure we all do.”

The health secretary also announced that Bolton, which had seen measures limit restaurants and pubs to takeaway only, would be aligned with the rest of the Greater Manchester.

In addition, no changes are being made to the rules in West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Leicester, Lancashire or Greater Manchester.

The tighter restrictions were heavily criticised by Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston, who branded them “unacceptable”.

He tweeted that the government that had failed to listen and added that “imposing restrictions that’ll kill viable jobs & damage mental health”.

“I do not accept the government’s intended restrictions – they’re based on ignorance.”

Shane Moore, independent leader of Hartlepool council, said he agreed with the criticism.

He told Sky News: “One of the things that we were very clear about was that we would not enter any form of restriction until we knew what the exit strategy was.

“We need our residents to know what they are aiming for. We need to how we can get out of these restrictions.

“And what’s very evident is that information is not forthcoming from the government.”

In the North West, Labour mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson accepted the measures but described the £7 million support package as “nowhere near enough”.

Watch: UK coronavirus cases rising - why are deaths still low?

Responding to the new measures, shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said Labour supported the measures but said there needed to be more financial support and demanded to know what the government was doing to stop people “piling out” of pubs at 10pm.

Labour MP for Wallasey, one of the areas affected by the new measures, Angela Eagle said: “I completely understand the need for additional measures to be brought in, but the government’s chaotic approach risks people’s livelihoods and their lives.“

Read more: Boris Johnson’s father Stanley pictured shopping without face covering

She added the test and taste system was “woefully inadequate”.

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson insisted the government’s coronavirus rules were “common sense”, but a poll found 64% of Britons thought they were unclear.

As local lockdowns come into force in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham in North Wales from 6pm on Thursday, more than a third of the UK population will be subject to some form of extra controls.

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