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Bolton households told not to mix after sharp rise in Covid-19 cases

Tighter restrictions have been introduced in Bolton following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

Bolton council has asked for people in the town to avoid mixing with other households and to only use public transport for essential purposes. It comes as Bolton’s infection rate recently increased to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week, the highest in England, the council said. Those aged between 18 and 49 account for more than 90% of the cases, it added.

The new measures, which were announced on Saturday evening and come into effect immediately, aim to prevent the need for a local lockdown, the council said.

People should only use public transport to travel to education, work or for essential appointments, such as at hospital. Mixing with other households in any setting, whether it be indoors or outdoors, should also be avoided, unless they are part of a person’s “support bubble”.

The announcement came as stricter lockdown measures were eased in other parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

In a joint statement, the council leader, David Greenhalgh, and the chief executive, Tony Oakman, said: “It has been a tough period for individuals, families and businesses but we don’t want to throw away all our hard work by allowing the infection rate to rise even higher. Now, more than ever, we need everyone in Bolton to play their part.

“Nobody wants these restrictions to remain a moment longer than necessary and we believe these new measures will keep everyone safe and help avoid a full lockdown in Bolton. Since the start of this pandemic, the people of Bolton have worked incredibly hard to combat this pandemic.

“Alongside a range of additional measures and interventions across Bolton we are asking everyone, particularly the younger age groups, to continue to follow the guidelines.”

In the seven days to 1 September, 265 new cases were recorded in Bolton – the equivalent of 92.2 per 100,000 people. This is the highest rate in England and it is up sharply from 18.8 in the seven days to 25 August.

Dr Helen Lowey, director of Public Health for Bolton Council, said: “This is a crucial stage in our response to the coronavirus and what we will do now will significantly impact how quickly we can reduce the rate to as low a level as possible.

“We are carrying out extra testing, including giving out home testing kits, and are carrying out extra site visits to support businesses to be Covid secure, and carrying out enforcement where necessary. Evidence from Oldham and Blackburn shows stopping households mixing works.”

Read the original article at The Guardian

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