Coronavirus: Nearly eight million Britons to be under tougher lockdown as nine areas added to watchlist | UK News

Coronavirus: Nearly eight million Britons to be under tougher lockdown as nine areas added to watchlist | UK News

Nearly eight million people in Britain will be living under stricter lockdown rules after new restrictions were announced for a large part of the West Midlands.

Households will be banned from meeting each other in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull from Tuesday after a rise in coronavirus cases.

From midnight, Lanarkshire is also joining areas around Glasgow subject to tougher rules.

It comes as nine new local authorities were added to Public Health England’s watchlist – which could potentially see new rules imposed in those areas as well.

They are: Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Hertsmere, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, Sheffield and St Helens.

When the new rules take effect in the West Midlands, Sky News analysis shows some 5.8m people in England (1 in 10) will be under tougher lockdown rules than the rest of the country.

Areas already dealing with added restrictions include Bolton – which has the worst infection rate in England at 121.3 per 100,000 people – and where rules include restaurants and pubs only being allowed to do takeaways.

In Scotland, 1.76m (1 in 3) are set to be under tougher rules, and in Wales it is 181,000 (1 in 20) – taking the total in Britain to 7.8m.

Sixty-three authorities in England were over the 20 cases per 100,000 mark in the most recent 7-day period ending 6 September.

That compares with 14 in the week ending 5 July.

UK cases also hit a near four-month high on Friday as 3,539 were reported – up from 2,919 the day before.

Local authority heatmap 5 July

It followed analysis from the government’s scientific advisory body, SAGE, that the R number had risen above 1.0 for the first time since March.

That indicates the disease is increasing exponentially across the UK – though daily cases are still far fewer than estimated at the peak of the pandemic.

A higher incidence of cases is being seen in people 18 to 24 years old, but there are signs older people are starting to be affected.

“Although younger people continue to make up the greatest share of new cases, we’re now starting to see worrying signs of infections occurring in the elderly, who are at far higher risk of getting seriously ill,” said Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England’s medical director.

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