MILLIONS of Brits in areas where there are low rates of coronavirus are being forced to comply with strict lockdown rules – because of small areas where cases are rising.
Boris Johnson yesterday told every resident of England they must limit social contact or face ARREST if they meet in groups of more than six people.
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It comes after rising cases in hotspots like Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Birmingham and Leicester.
But some 38million people live in areas where cases aren't rising, according to new research.
The Telegraph reports that 65 per cent of councils – 210 out of 320 – have a rate of new cases that falls below 20 in 100,000 people.
That's the level at which the Goverment considers quarantine measures for other countries.
And analysis of postcode data shows 75 per cent of areas in the UK – 5,157 – have a rate below the crucial 20 in 100,000 figure.
It means that while virus rates are low in many towns and villages, residents living there will still have to comply with draconian new measures.
People living in the rural south west are among those to have escaped the worst of the virus's impact.
However, they will still be subjected to the tough rules faced by the rest of the country.
The Prime Minister last night announced that people must no longer meet in groups no larger than six – either indoors or outdoors.
Those who flout the rule could be fined between £100 and £3,200.
Dorset has recorded 39 new cases in the past week, giving it a rate of just 10.3 per 100,000 according to official data.
A similar situation exists in West Devon, which recorded two new cases in the past week – meaning the rate is just 3.6.
Why are coronavirus cases rising?
‘Affluent young people’ have been blamed for the spike in infections
England’s Covid infection rates have rocketed from 12.5 per 100,000 last week, to 19.7 this week.
But the rate is far higher among Brits in their late teens and 20s.
Among 17- to 18 year-olds it stands at a staggering 48.1 per 100,000.
Among 19- to 21-year-olds it is even higher at 54.5, while among 20 to 29 year-old it is 41.6 per 100,000.
But it is no higher among school age children.
This week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We are seeing problems with social distancing.
"The rise in cases is largely among younger people, under 25s, especially between 17 and 21,"
Bolton currently has the highest rate of coronavirus infections in England, with 131.1 per 100,000 – a sharp rise from the rate of 72.0 recorded a week ago.
Bradford has the second highest rate, at 78.4, and Birmingham the third highest, at 77.1.
Salford, Manchester and Leeds are among the areas also concerning health chiefs.
Tory former minster David Jones MP told MailOnline: "I can understand that the Government has to do something, because there is certainly an uptick.
"But it is not an uptick across the country as a whole.
"There are some parts of the country such as Devon, Dorset where there is very little virus activity at all.
"It does seem to be very broad brush."
It comes after a new graphic showing how the rate of infection has changed across the country since the start of the pandemic was published.
The map, released by the Government, highlights local authorities across England by colour to indicate the level of infection in that area.
Each colour is determined by the number of positive tests in a rolling seven day period per 100,000 people – and the darker the colour, the higher the infection rate.
It shows that while cases dropped during lockdown – March to July – they began to rise again in early August.
Where are the ten areas with the lowest rates of infection?
Scores of areas across the UK have virus rates at lower than 20 in 100,000 people – the level Government officials consider quarantine measures
Harlow, Essex: 3.4
South Holland, Lincolnshire: 3.2
Copeland, Cumbria: 2.9
Thanet, Kent: 2.8
Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire: 2.8
Havant, Hampshire: 2.4
Tendring, Essex: 2.0
Fenland, Cambridgeshire: 2.0
North Norfolk: 1.9
East Cambridgeshire: 1.1
Initially, Covid cases began to surge in the north but that has now spread more broadly across the rest of England, experts say.
And last night the PM all but cancelled Christmas after saying stringent new restrictions could go on for six months.
And he announced plans to spend £100BILLION on Operation Moonshot, which could see every Brit in the UK getting a test.
It was also revealed yesterday:
- Groups of more than six will be banned from Monday – and anyone who disobeys faced a £100 minimum fine
- Pub-goers and diners will be FORCED to hand over their details when they go out as part of a ramping up of track and trace
- A new army of health and safety inspectors will be rolled out by local authorities to crack down on places not enforcing safety rules
- Britain's borders will be beefed up with fresh plans to force airlines into making sure everyone fills out new passenger forms – leaving officials more time to check people are in quarantine
- Stadium pilots will be reviewed and any that go ahead will be limited to 1000 only – putting the return of live sport in doubt
- Night-time curfews for businesses could be slapped on other areas of the country in future
It comes after cases rose by 2,659 across the UK yesterday, with eight more deaths confirmed.
On Tuesday, the number of infections rose by 2,460, while the rise was nearly 3,000 on both Saturday and Sunday – the highest infection rate in more than three months.
The PM apologised yesterday after announcing the new laws.
He said: "I wish that we did not have to take this step. But as your PM, I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and save lives."
And he promised will only keep it in place "as long as necessary".
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