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Residents in Oldham and parts of Blackburn and Pendle can no longer socialise with other households under new measures.

The new rules, introduced to stem the spread of coronavirus, came into place at midnight after a rise in cases.

But they have been branded "confusing" by council leaders, who urged the government to issue detailed guidance.

Workplaces, childcare facilities and businesses, including pubs and restaurants, will remain open.

Under the new restrictions, residents in Oldham, parts of Blackburn and Pendle are advised to only use public transport for essential travel.

Schools are set to open from 1 September.

Announcement 'not smoothest'

Restaurants are advised to only cater for pre-booked customers, with a maximum of six people per table.

Residents can attend the weddings, civil partnerships and funerals of members of their household and close family, with a maximum of 20 people

The new ban on socialising will apply to the following areas of Blackburn with Darwen: Audley & Queen's Park, Bastwell & Daisyfield, Billinge & Beardwood, Blackburn Central, Little Harwood & Whitebirk, Roe Lee, Shear Brow & Corporation Park, Wensley Fold.

Areas in Blackburn with Darwen where extra restrictions have been lifted are: Blackburn South & Lower Darwen, Blackburn South East, Darwen East, Darwen South, Darwen West, Ewood, Livesey with Pleasington, Mill Hill & Moorgate, West Pennine

Restrictions in Pendle remain but the new socialising ban applies to the following areas: Whitefield, Walverden, Southfield, Bradley, Clover Hill, Brierfield, Marsden

The new guidelines were leaked to a local newspaper before the government's official confirmation on Friday afternoon.

Sean Fielding, leader of Oldham Council, said it was looking to provide clarity to residents "because the announcement itself from the government wasn't the smoothest".

Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The government has announced these tightening restrictions for local people in my area, yet they have not issued any detailed guidance as to how it will operate, who will police it.

"So local people are actually more confused than they were on Thursday evening."

On Saturday, Greater Manchester Police issued a social media post urging people not to call 999 or 101 for clarification about the measures.

Since July, the government has been introducing extra restrictions in parts of northern England after a spike in coronavirus cases.

The tighter rules will be removed in Wigan, Darwen and Rossendale on 26 August after they recorded lower infection rates than other areas.

Residents in those towns will be required to follow national guidance, including social distancing and wearing a face covering where appropriate.

However, the extra restrictions will remain for the rest of Greater Manchester and East Lancashire, plus Preston, where indoor gatherings of more than two households are banned.

A government spokesman said the "sharp rise" in confirmed cases was partly due to a major increase in testing led by local councils.

He added the spike "continues to be due to social mixing between younger age groups of 20-39 year olds".

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, public health director at Lancashire County Council, said: "The vast majority – more than 80% – of coronavirus transmission (in the affected parts of Pendle and Blackburn) is as a result of households mixing.

"That's why we are putting out a very clear message – do not socialise with people you don't live with."

Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said the borough, which launched a local contact-tracing service earlier in August, would continue "our important work fighting this infection at a really local level".

"We know that our residents have been making huge sacrifices and that businesses are struggling. We desperately needed to prevent the thRead More – Source

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