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Coronavirus: What are the new local lockdown rules?

Coronavirus: What are the new local lockdown rules? thumbnail

Image copyright Getty Images Coronavirus restrictions are being tightened in parts of the West Midlands, including Birmingham, with households no longer allowed to mix.It is the latest of a number of areas to have local lockdowns put in place as cases increase. Which areas are under lockdown?As of 11 September, parts of north-west England, West…

Picture of woman sitting outside the Bull Ring in Birmingham

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Coronavirus restrictions are being tightened in parts of the West Midlands, including Birmingham, with households no longer allowed to mix.

It is the latest of a number of areas to have local lockdowns put in place as cases increase.

Which areas are under lockdown?

As of 11 September, parts of north-west England, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Leicester, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are under local lockdown.

You can find out online which places in England, Scotland and Wales have imposed extra restrictions.

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PA Media

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A local lockdown is in force in some parts of Glasgow

How long do local lockdowns last?

Local lockdowns are regularly reviewed and when the number of infections falls, the restrictions start to be eased again.

Restrictions in Aberdeen have now been lifted, while two households can now meet indoors again in Stockport, Burnley, Hyndburn and some parts of Bradford and Kirklees.

Why are there local lockdowns?

In a bid stop local coronavirus outbreaks, areas with high infection rates can be locked-down, or have extra restrictions introduced.

This could mean locking down a hospital or factory, or even a whole city.

Local authorities in England have powers to:

  • Close specific premises (such as shops, cafes and gyms)
  • Shut outdoor spaces (such as parks, playgrounds and beaches)
  • Cancel events (such as concerts, weddings and sporting events)

Ministers can:

  • Close sectors or types of premises in local areas
  • Introduce localised stay at home orders
  • Reduce the maximum size of gatherings
  • Restrict the use of transport
  • Stop people leaving a certain area

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Reuters

Image caption

Bolton has the highest case rate in the country, the health secretary says

What triggers a local lockdown?

There is no set level of infection that triggers a local lockdown.

But if an area posts more than 40 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, it is likely that extra restrictions will be considered.

Measures were introduced in Caerphilly after it registered 55.4 coronavirus cases per 100,000 population. This was the highest rate in Wales.

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Getty Images

However, the number of infections is not the only factor considered.

For example, cases in Northampton jumped to 125 per 100,000 in August. But as the rise was almost entirely down to workers at a local factory no local lockdown was introduced.

Local decision-makers have a framework they can use to decide whether their area should be placed under extra restrictions to protect the public..

What is an ‘area of concern’?

Public Health England publishes a weekly list of areas where rising infection rates are becoming worrying.

It separates them into “areas of concern”, “areas of enhanced support” and “areas of intervention”.

This means it could do more testing in care homes or with communities it thinks are at higher risk. It could also close down individual venues such as a pub.

Can police enforce a lockdown?

Police have powers to enforce a local lockdown. For example, if they believe that somebody is staying away overnight, they can tell them to return home.

They can also fine people for breaking the rules, and may issue a “prohibition notice” directing somebody not to do something.

But if a resident from a locked-down area wanted to go to a bar in another part of the city, for example, there is nothing legally to stop them.

Instead, the government hopes people’s sense of civic responsibility will see them follow guidance to stay at home.

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