Oldham, Blackburn and Pendle 'set to see tougher Covid measures imposed'

Oldham could face tougher restrictions from Friday. Credit: PA

Oldham, Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle are set to have tougher coronavirus measures imposed on them, ITV News understand.

Health Editor Emily Morgan said that on Friday, "the government will announce stricter measures" on the three areas but it is "highly unlikely they will be full lockdowns".

It follows warnings from Oldham's council leader that the town is facing a "very real threat" of a full-scale lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to soar.

The latest data released by the government shows that per 100,000 people, Oldham has 70.5 cases of coronavirus, the highest in the country.

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Blackburn with Darwen has the second highest level with 60.8 cases per 100,000.

Earlier this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned Oldham is posing the "biggest challenge" among Greater Manchester areas.

Last month, restrictions were increased in the region following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Oldham residents have been warned to follow its guidance to avoid being placed under a full Leicester-style lockdown.

They are unlikely to face a full lockdown as Leicester has experienced but restrictions of visiting, increased testing and a limit on public transport use may be among the measures introduced.

ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan on the latest spike in some English towns

There are also warnings that Birmingham could be heading towards a local lockdown if coronavirus infection rates do not improve in the city.

Latest figures show that in the last seven days cases have jumped from 225 to 362 and that per 100,000 people there are around 30 cases.

Emily Morgan said the city will likely be placed on the government's watch-list on Friday and testing with be ramped up in the area in a bid to understand where the virus is and whether it is being transmitted within the community or in households.

However, she said it was "highly unlikely" the city will see tougher measures just yet.

Earlier on Thursday, the city's public health director Dr Justin Varney said that while he did not expect tough restrictions to be imposed on the city just yet, he urged "everybody to pay attention and start stepping up those actions that keep us safe and that's how we avoid going into a very restrictive environment we are trying to avoid".

He also banned "non-essential" visits to care homes in the city.