Households to be banned from meeting in Oldham, Blackburn and Pendle as restrictions are lifted in Wigan

People in Oldham, Blackburn and parts of Pendle have been told not to socialise with anyone from outside their household from midnight on Saturday to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

After speculation this week that Oldham could have followed Leicester, the town’s council leader said the area will not go into a full local lockdown.

However Councillor Sean Fielding said that some restrictions would be introduced.

“We have reached agreement with the Government that Oldham will not go into full local economic lockdown,” Mr Fielding tweeted.

“Some additional restrictions will be introduced, however.”

Outlining the new measures, he said: “What the new restrictions mean in practical terms are that social mixing between households in any setting, so including in parks or pub beer gardens, will now be prohibited.”

While preventing businesses from closing, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the measures mean social activities indoors and outdoors can only be shared by people who live in the same home.

The number of people who can attend weddings and funerals will also be reduced.

Residents will also be told to avoid using public transport except for essential travel.

The DHSC also said measures will be relaxed in Wigan, Rossendale and Darwen, while Birmingham is added to a watch list as an “area of enhanced support” and Northampton becomes an “area of intervention”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The only way we can keep on top of this deadly virus is through decisive action led by the people who know their areas best, wherever possible through consensus with a local area.

“Working with local leaders we agreed further action in Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn.

“Our approach is to make the action we take as targeted as possible, with the maximum possible local consensus.”

Pavement stickers in Oldham ask pedestrians to keep social distance (AFP via Getty Images)

It comes as Slough was named by Public Health England as an “area of concern”.

The designation comes following a rise in coronavirus cases in the borough in the last two weeks.

Josie Wragg, Slough Borough Council chief executive, said: “Residents do not need to be unduly worried, but this serves as a timely reminder that Covid-19 is still out there, still circulating in our community and still affecting local people.

“It has not gone away, we are not back to normal and, to protect everyone in our town, people need to follow the advice on handwashing, face coverings and social distancing, get tested at the first hint of symptoms and, if a test is positive, self isolate and take part in the test and trace system to the best of their ability.”

Evening Standard – News