Bolton Council asks Government to keep Covid-19 restrictions in place

Bolton Council has asked the Government to keep Covid-19 restrictions in place in the borough following a "sudden and unforeseeable rise" in the local infection rate.

The U-turn has been made after council bosses held an emergency meeting over the new cases said to be not limited to a single area, community or place of work.

Last week, the Government announced that different households in Bolton could meet indoors or in private gardens from Wednesday (tomorrow), after local political leaders argued for the removal of the restrictions due to falling numbers. 

The request was made following an emergency meeting between local officials as the rate of new Covid-19 cases surged from  18.4 per 100,000 people to 56.4.

Analysis showed that new cases in Bolton were spread across the borough and not limited to a single area, community, or place of work, said the council.

Leader of Bolton Council councillor David Greenhalgh, said: "It is with a heavy heart that the cabinet and officer team have come to this decision and this will be incredibly disappointing for both residents and business owners.

"We urged the Government to lift Bolton out of the additional restrictions at a time when infection rates were low. This was the right decision at the time.

"However, there has been a sudden and unforeseeable rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Bolton. We have always been led by the data, which means we have no choice but to act quickly to keep everyone safe.

"The rate stands at 56.4 per 100,000, which makes us a key area of concern within the UK. We need to take this seriously and follow the regulations."

Any reversal in the plans would also mean that certain businesses, including those offering close contact services, will not reopen as planned.

Bolton was due to join Stockport, Trafford, Burnley, Hyndburn and parts of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in falling into line with restrictions currently in place in most of England.

Bolton Council's director of public health Dr Helen Lowey, said: "When the request was made last week, Covid-19 cases were being managed in the community and rates were steadily falling.

"In a short space of time, that rate has jumped from 18.4 to 56.4. This highlights how quickly the virus spreads and the importance of following the regulations closely.

"Do not meet up with people you do not live with either inside or in a private garden. Maintain social distancing, wash your hand regularly and wear a face covering when required." 

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