England

Covid rules: How much of the UK is now under some sort of lockdown?

Woman in mask walks past social distancing instructions in Leeds Image copyright Getty Images

More areas of the UK have announced localised restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus.

In parts of north-east England lockdown rules are being tightened further from Wednesday 30 September.

How many people are under extra restrictions?

In total, at least 16.6 million people are in local lockdowns in the UK - about one in four people.

This includes:

  • 12.4m people in England, or 22% of the population
  • 1.9m people in Wales (60%)
  • 1.8m people in Scotland (32%)

Currently, 65% of northern England faces restrictions and 22% of the Midlands.

Which areas have restrictions?

The nature and extent of restrictions vary around the UK. Some of the rules and places include:

England:

Wales:

  • New restrictions are now in force in Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan
  • Restrictions are already in force in Llanelli, Cardiff, Swansea as well as Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent,Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Caerphilly
  • People should not enter or leave those areas without a reasonable excuse like going to work, unless you can do so from home, or school. Pubs and restaurants must close by 22:20, but have to stop serving alcohol at 22:00
  • People cannot meet other households indoors, including members of extended households

Scotland:

  • People living in Glasgow city, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire are subject to small additional restrictions relating to care home and hospital visits, as well as contact tracing

Northern Ireland:

  • Currently all parts of Northern Ireland have the same rules

Further details on the measures in place and specific areas affected have been published by the governments for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

When are new restrictions introduced in an area?

There is no set level of infection that triggers this in a particular place, but if it posts more than 40 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, it is likely that extra restrictions will be considered.

The number of infections is not the only factor considered.

For example, cases in Northampton jumped to 125 per 100,000 in August. But as the rise was almost entirely down to workers at a local factory no restrictions were introduced.

Local decision-makers have a framework they can use to decide whether their area should be placed under extra restrictions to protect the public..

What are 'areas of concern'?

Since June, Public Health England has been publishing a weekly Covid-19 surveillance list.

This lists those local authority areas where incidence of the disease is rising, sorting them into three categories:

  • Areas of intervention - where restrictions or lockdowns are in place
  • Areas of enhanced support - where the local council is receiving help from the government (eg extra testing)
  • Areas of concern - where the situation is being monitored closely, but no restrictions have been put in place

On 25 September, all 33 London boroughs were listed as areas of concern.

How long do local or regional restrictions last?

The situations are regularly reviewed and when the number of infections falls, restrictions start to be eased again.

For instance, restrictions in Aberdeen were introduced in August but later lifted.

How are these rules enforced?

Local authorities in England have powers to:

  • Close specific premises (such as shops, cafes and gyms)
  • Shut outdoor spaces (such as parks, playgrounds and beaches)
  • Cancel events (such as concerts, weddings and sporting events)

Central government can:

  • Close sectors or types of premises in local areas
  • Introduce localised stay at home orders
  • Reduce the maximum size of gatherings
  • Restrict the use of transport
  • Stop people leaving a certain area
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bolton has the highest case rate in the country, the health secretary says

Can police enforce the rules?

Police have powers to make sure people stick to the restrictions. For example, if they believe that somebody is staying away overnight, they can tell them to return home.

They can also fine people for breaking the rules, and may issue a "prohibition notice" directing somebody not to do something.

But if a resident from a locked-down area wants to go to a bar in another part of the city, for example, there is nothing legally to stop them.

Instead, the government hopes people's sense of civic responsibility will see them follow guidance to stay at home.

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