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The North East of England is being put under lockdown as it battles with a surge in coronavirus cases amid a general rise across the country.
Several areas in the region have some of the highest rates of coronavirus infection in the UK.
Bolton remains the place with the highest infection rate in the country.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced earlier almost two million people in the North East of England will banned from socialising with other households, following a “concerning” rise in Covid-19.
Hancock told MPs in the Commons new measures were needed to tackle rising infection rates in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.
From Friday, residents in these areas will be banned from socialising in homes or gardens with people outside their own households or support bubble, while food and drink venues will be restricted to table service only.
Large areas of the North West including Manchester, Birmingham, South Wales, Glasgow and its surrounding areas, and Leicester are currently under enhanced lockdown measures - representing a significant portion of the UK’s population.
Bolton recorded 546 new cases in the seven days to September 14 – the equivalent of 189.9 per 100,000 people.
It is slightly higher than the 186.4 per 100,00 people in the seven days to September 7.
The figures, for the seven days to September 14, are based on tests carried out in laboratories and in the wider community
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Hyndburn has the second highest rate, up from 80.2 to 144.4 with 117 new cases.
Preston is in third place, where the rate has risen from 93.6 to 134.8, with 193 new cases.
Areas recording sharp increases in their seven-day rates include:
Knowsley (up from 61.6 to 114.7, with 173 new cases)
Oldham (up from 80.1 to 110.1, with 261 new cases)
Liverpool (up from 67.5 to 107.8, with 537 new cases)
South Tyneside (up from 60.9 to 93.4, with 141 new cases)
Fears have been raised the current figures may not be an accurate representation of coronavirus numbers in the UK due demand for tests outstripping supply.
Daniel Lawson, senior lecturer in statistical science at the University of Bristol, said the last time we had reliable coronavirus figures in the UK was on 9 September because that was the last time the system was functioning properly.
He said: “The infection rate now will be substantially higher, and there are no data on how many people want a test but cannot get one, or what delays this will induce.”
The problems with testing has led to warnings that the government may lose control of the pandemic and be forced to put the whole nation back into lockdown.
The top 20 places expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people are:
Oadby and Wigston 124.5
Blackburn with Darwen 123.6
St. Helens 102.4
South Tyneside 93.4
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