Tighter coronavirus measures have been introduced in Oldham, a city in northern England, after a sharp rise in infections there, the City Council said in a statement on Tuesday.
Residents are being asked not to receive social visits at home and to keep two meters apart from friends and family when seeing them outside, according to the statement.
Clinically vulnerable people whose shielding period was due to to end on July 31 are being asked to continue shielding until August 14, and care homes will not relax restrictions on visitors. Last week, some restrictions were dropped on care home visits in England, allowing one single visitor per resident.
The new guidance is being issued in order to avoid a local lockdown, the council said, after the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 increased from 26 in the week ending on July 17, to 119 in the week ending July 25, according to the statement.
"A significant proportion of recent cases involve multiple individuals testing positive within a household, showing that household spread is a real issue – especially in households with large families," the statement said.
A "large number" of recent cases were in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities — just over 65% cases in the last seven days, the council said on its website.
“We’re urging residents to continue to take the risk of coronavirus seriously and to stick to the guidelines," said Councillor Arooj Shah, deputy leader of the Oldham Council.
“The best way to avoid infection is to limit contact with others as much as possible and to stay home wherever you can, including working from home. Limit contact with other people and respect social distancing where you do go out; keeping at least 2 meters from those not in your household and avoid shaking hands or hugging," Shah added.
"We know that people across Oldham desperately want to see their friends and family, and get back to normal. But these restrictions are essential if we are to stop the spread of Coronavirus and prevent a strict local lockdown being put in place, as we have seen elsewhere in the country."
The measures went into effect Tuesday and will continue for the next two weeks, the Oldham Council said in the statement.