Almost 8 million Britons will be subjected to tighter lockdown restrictions from next week after fresh measures were imposed in the West Midlands and Scotland as the UK has reached a “critical time” in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
From Tuesday, households in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull will be banned from gatherings after the region reported a surge in coronavirus cases, Xinhua news agency quoted the Evening Standard newspaper as saying in a report on Saturday.
Further north, Lanarkshire joins areas around Glasgow subject to tougher controls, with the new rules in force as of midnight on Friday.
Previously, nine new local authorities were added to Public Health England’s watchlist, meaning they, too, could soon see new restrictions imposed.
They are Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Hertsmere, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, Sheffield and St Helens.
Some 5.8 million people in England will be forced to follow tougher rules than the rest of the country, when the new measures take effect in the West Midlands, according to analysis by Sky News.
Designated areas in Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Greater Manchester where restrictions are already in place remain as areas of national intervention, the British Department of Health confirmed.
A study by Imperial College London found that coronavirus cases in England were doubling every seven to eight days at the beginning of September.
The findings of the Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission study suggest the virus is now spread more widely in the community.
As of Sunday, the overall Covid-19 caseload in the UK has increased to 367,592, while the death toll stood at 41,712.