Tougher coronavirus restrictions in Oldham as cases 'dramatically' increase

Oldham Council have issued tougher measures to avoid a local lockdown as cases increase. Credit: PA

Oldham Council have issued tougher measures to avoid a local lockdown as cases increase.

The announcement follows what the council say is a "dramatic" increase after 119 cases were reported in the seven days to July 25 - compared to the previous week of July 17 which saw just 26 positive cases.

This means a current rate of 50.2 positive tests per 100,000 versus 10.2 per 100,000 the week before.

This rate is well above Greater Manchester and national averages and is the sixth highest rate in the country. 

Oldham follows its neighbouring borough of Rochdale in Greater Manchester, as well as Blackburn with Darwen, and Pendle in Lancashire, where all Councils have imposed new restrictions.

New restrictions:

  • Residents are being asked not to have social visitors to their home.

  • Gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is exclusively from two households or your support bubble.

  • Wear a face mask where you cannot keep at least 2 metres from others.

  • Keep two metres apart from friends and family when outside.

  • Anyone who is shielding is asked to continue to do so until August 14.

  • Care homes will not relax visiting restrictions until further notice.

  • People should continue to work from home where they can.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and cabinet member for Covid-19 recovery, said:  “We know that people across Oldham desperately want to see their friends and family, and get back to normal. But these restrictions are essential if we are to stop the spread of Coronavirus and prevent a strict local lockdown being put in place, as we have seen elsewhere in the country.”

19 cases of Covid-19 were reported in Oldham in the seven days to July 25. Credit: PA

Oldham Council say a "significant proportion" of recent cases involve multiple individuals testing positive within a household and say "household spread is a real issue – especially in households with large families."

They added that while the increase in cases is worrying "we are not yet seeing the numbers of cases that saw a local lockdown imposed elsewhere. What we are seeking to do is act early to avoid that possibility."

Katrina Stephens, Director of Public Health for Oldham, said: “We know that effective testing is at the heart of tackling the spread of the virus. We therefore urging anyone who shows symptoms that may be Coronavirus to book a test online.

 “Where people test positive or have symptoms, or where people have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, they must ensure they follow the guidance on self isolation. If you have symptoms you should stay at home for seven days and book a test as soon as possible.

 “If you test positive you should self-isolate for seven days. Members of your family and support bubble and others who you have been in contact with should self-isolate for 14 days, even if they access a test themselves and test negative. This is because it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. 

“If we all do our bit and stick to the restrictions now, we can help stop the spread of Coronavirus, and protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

  • A helpline is available to support those self-isolating with access to food, medicine, financial support and loneliness and is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0161 770 7007.

  • You can book a coronavirus test here or call NHS 119.

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