Covid: Why are the rates staying so high in Bolton during lockdown?

Coronavirus rates in Bolton have either risen or been stagnating for the past few weeks with more young people in the town falling seriously ill.

Research by public health teams in the area have shown that three-quarters of cases are in the working-age groups and businesses are being asked to redouble their efforts to make sure that workplaces are "covid secure".

There have also been a rise in deaths since ITV News filmed at the Royal Bolton Hospital two weeks ago, with 60 deaths in a fortnight.

The town now has one of the highest case rates in the country, 259 per 100,000, despite starting the third lockdown with a case rate much lower than the national average.

The number of cases is also higher than the rest of Greater Manchester, but lower than neighbouring Blackburn with Darwen.

60 people have died at Bolton Hospital in the last two weeks. Credit: ITV News

Dr Helen Wall, the GP in charge of Bolton's vaccination programme, said: "Bolton has been in lockdown and restrictions for so long I do wonder if people have almost stopped trying a bit.

"Sometimes people will turn up to the covid clinic and say it can't be covid, it won't happen to me."

She added that she had seen more young people ill than in the whole of her career.

Dr Harnovdeep Singh Bharaj, the Deputy Medical Director for Bolton NHS Trust, said that new variants seem to be affecting younger people more and that working-age people need to be "extra vigilant".

Around 67,000 people have been vaccinated in Bolton, but health officials are asking people to keep sticking to restrictions until they are lifted.