LONDON: More than a quarter of the UK population is set to be under coronavirus lockdown rules, as new measures come into force this weekend, reports BBC.
From Saturday in England, households in Leeds, Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool will be banned from mixing in each other’s homes or gardens.In Wales, Llanelli will be subject to new rules from 18:00 BST, with Cardiff and Swansea following 24 hours later.
It comes as the rate at which the virus is spreading appears to be speeding up. Meeting another household indoors was banned across the whole of Scotland on Wednesday.
The R number - which indicates how many people someone with coronavirus infects - has risen in the last week and now stands at 1.2 to 1.5. A number above 1 means the virus is spreading within the community.
Meanwhile, the daily number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK reached a record high of 6,874, government figures on Friday showed.
In England, the “rule of six” and a 22:00 closing time for pubs and restaurants applies nationally.
But extra restrictions are also in place in large parts of north-east and north-west England, West Yorkshire and the Midlands where the infection rate is higher.The latest rules for Leeds, Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool came into force at midnight and ban different households from mixing inside private homes or gardens.
Support bubbles are not affected and friends and family can still provide informal childcare for children under 14.
People are also advised not to socialise with people they do not live with in any other settings, including bars, shops and parks. Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was clear people had not been self-isolating if they had symptoms.
“What we have got to do is make it reasonable for people,” she said.
“We are very conscious of the emotional toll on people and mental health issues that will follow. And of course, it is a very different prospect going into winter, going into spring with light nights and good weather was one thing, going into winter I think is going to be very tough for people.”
She added she was concerned about the situation at the universities in the city. “We have put a testing site into Leeds University, on the campus,” she said.