Coronavirus: What do new measures mean for northern England, Birmingham and Northampton?

Government guidance was issued for parts of northern England, Birmingham and Northampton on Friday.
Government guidance was issued for parts of northern England, Birmingham and Northampton on Friday. Credit: PA/ ITV News

People in Oldham, Blackburn and parts of Pendle will be told not to socialise with anyone from outside their household from midnight on Saturday to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile Birmingham has been added to this week’s watchlist as an “area of enhanced support”, while Northampton has become an “area of intervention”.

So what does the Government’s latest advice mean for those living in the affected areas?

Northern England

Following Government consolation with local leaders, new targeted intervention were announced for parts of northern England.

This includes further intervention in:

  • Oldham

  • Blackburn

  • Parts of Pendle

Meanwhile, measures will be eased in:

  • Wigan

  • Rossendale

  • Darwen

Those in Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn have been told they must no longer socialise with anyone from anyone outside their household.

This does not prevent people from shopping, going to work or attending childcare facilities, including schools which reopen on September 1. But it does mean any social activities indoors and outdoors can only be shared with people that you live with and in your immediate household.

Weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases in England Credit: PA Graphics

Residents should avoid using public transport for all but essential travel, and the number of people who can attend weddings and funerals is limited to 20.

Local restaurants will also be encouraged to halt walk-ins, and only seat people who make reservations in advance, up to a maximum of six people per table.

It comes amid an increase of people between the ages of 20-39 mixing in groups.


Cases of coronavirus in Birmingham have risen sharply, with 30.2 cases per 100,000. More than half of the cases have been people between the ages of 18-34.

Local leaders and the government have therefore agreed initially to make Birmingham an "area of enhanced support", meaning the area will benefit from additional testing, locally led contract tracing and targeted community engagement.

  • ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn explains Birmingham's addition to the coronavirus watchlist

Further discussions with local leaders are taking place to understand what additional measures should be taken to help manage the outbreak. Health Secretary Matt Hancock held discussions with local council leaders and the Mayor of the West Midlands on Friday to discuss urgent next steps.


Cases in Northampton have also have increased, hitting 125.1 per 100,000 people in week ending August 13.

This is almost solely down to an outbreak at the Greencore Factory which produces sandwiches for UK retailers. Almost 300 workers at the facility have tested positive for Covid-19.

The Greencore food factory in Northampton is the centre of one coronavirus outbreak with nearly 300 positive tests. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The factory has now been closed as part of measures in the city to limit the spread. Employees at the firm are required to isolate for 14 days.

Lancashire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Leicester

The rules on social gatherings introduced three weeks ago will be lifted in Wigan, Rossendale and some areas of Blackburn with Darwen and these areas will align with the rest of England from Wednesday 26 August.

The restrictions will continue in other parts of West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and Leicester unchanged and will be reviewed again next week.