THE RESTRICTIONS on social gatherings in Bradford introduced two weeks ago are to remain in force.

It means the national easing of restrictions planned tomorrow around the reopening of venues including casinos, bowling alleys and conference halls will not apply to Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire or Leicester.

The Department of Health and Social Care announced this afternoon that the current rules will continue in those areas following consideration of all local restrictions yesterday by government and local authorities.

The measures were announced to urgently tackle an increase in Covid-19 cases in these areas.

The latest evidence does not show a decrease in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area, and the Health Secretary, in collaboration with local leaders, has agreed that the rules must remain in place at present.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford areas with Covid-19 casesBradford areas with Covid-19 cases

The ministry said this will help protect local residents, and allow more time for the changes to have an effect, cutting transmission among households.

The latest data also shows a continued rise in cases in Oldham and Pendle while numbers remain high in Blackburn with Darwen. Local leaders are now setting up an enhanced incident team to try and bring infection rates under control, with support offered from the government. Progress will be assessed throughout the weekend and early next week.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A graph of Bradford pillar 1 and 2 casesA graph of Bradford pillar 1 and 2 cases

Minister for Health Edward Argar said: “I’d like to thank everyone in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester for their continued patience in following these vital rules put in place to tackle the spread of the disease – I know it hasn’t been easy.

“We will review the measures again next week as part of our ongoing surveillance and monitoring of the latest data.

“It is essential we all remain vigilant, and I urge everyone in these areas to continue to follow the rules - wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms, and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to.”

The Ministry says it will keep all local restrictions under constant consideration, including ahead of any formal reviews.

It said as part of ensuring a proportionate yet robust response to the virus, where possible, the government will remove individual areas from these measures while maintaining or even strengthening measures in others as necessary – just as has been done in other areas where local measures have been brought in, such as Leicestershire.

This means that people in these areas will continue to not be permitted to mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubble) within private homes or gardens. People are still able to meet others in groups up to six individuals, or two households, in outdoor public places.

Pools, indoor gyms and other leisure facilities will continue to remain closed in Bradford and Blackburn and Leicester. Shielding will also continue for individuals in Blackburn with Darwen, and Leicester City.

Venues and settings that are currently open will remain so, however the additional easements planned nationally for tomorrow (August 15) will not be coming into place in these settings.

The latest data for Leicester shows that infection rates have declined thanks to the efforts of the local area, so a further review is being carried out and an update will be given early next week. In the meantime the current restrictions will remain in place.

Anyone with any symptoms must isolate immediately and get a test for free by going online or ringing 119. Everyone must continue to socially distance and regularly wash their hands to help bring this virus down further so all areas can return to normal as soon as possible.