Preston becomes latest UK city to face virus lockdown

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Preston, in the northwest of England, on Friday became the latest UK town to face a local lockdown due to a reported rise in coronavirus infection rates.

Under the restrictions, which come into force at midnight, people from separate households will be banned from meeting each other at home.

Official figures showed a rolling seven-day rate of new cases of the virus in Preston rose from 20.3 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 27 July, to 32.8 in the seven days to 3 August.

"Government has declared Preston as an 'area of intervention' following a spike of coronavirus cases in the ," said Preston City Council on Twitter.

"The announcement means the city will be subject to additional measures seen elsewhere in the county."

Restrictions were placed on Manchester and nearby stretches of northern England last month, as well as the central city of Leicester.

The move in Preston comes as research from advisory group Sage concluded that infection rates could be growing across the country.

The reproduction number—referred to as R—for the UK is between 0.8 to 1, but Sage indicated it could be higher across England.

At the same time, Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned that London would "not hesitate" to extend quarantine restrictions on arrivals into the UK, with speculation that France could join a list of countries which already includes Spain, another favourite destination for British tourists.

"If we need to take action... we will of course not hesitate to do that and we're doing that to protect people's health," he told Sky News on Friday.

On Thursday the UK announced that arrivals from Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas would have to quarantine for 14 days.

© 2020 AFP

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