Britain Reimposes COVID Restrictions in Parts of Manchester

LONDON (Reuters) -
A sign about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manchester, Britain, August 1. (Reuters/Phil Noble)

The British government reimposed local COVID-19 restrictions on parts of the Greater Manchester area in northern England on Wednesday, just as they were being lifted, the latest in a series of abrupt reversals.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said restrictions would remain in place in the boroughs of Bolton and Trafford, contrary to his announcement on Aug. 28 that they would be lifted on Sept. 2.

“Following a significant change in the level of infection rates over the last few days, a decision has been taken that Bolton and Trafford will now remain under existing restrictions,” Hancock said in a statement.

“We have always been clear we will take swift and decisive action where needed to contain outbreaks.”

The planned lifting of social distancing measures in Trafford and Bolton while they remained in place elsewhere in the densely populated metropolitan area had proved controversial.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, of the opposition Labour Party, had said it left residents in “an impossible situation.”