The UK government on Friday further expanded localised lockdown measures in the northern parts of England as the number of coronavirus cases remain on an upward trajectory across the country.
The tougher restrictions on meeting between different households and bars and restaurants in the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire regions of England, which will be in force from next Tuesday, come in as the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) warned that its infection survey found that new COVID-19 cases could be hitting 6,000 a day in England.
"We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton. Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them," said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Under the tougher rules, which already came in force in other parts of north-east England from Friday, residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens; hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only; and late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, cinemas and pubs required to remain closed between 10 pm to 5 am.