Leeds, Middlesbrough, Corby, Kettering and South Tyneside have been added to the government's coronavirus watchlist after cases spiked.

Norfolk, Rossendale in Lancashire and Northampton will also become "areas of enhanced support", which means more residents will get access to testing, after seeing their own rises in COVID-19 infections, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Some areas previously subject to local lockdown restrictions, including Leicester, parts of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Lancashire, will see them relaxed next week, a spokesman added.

Image: The UK's R rate stands between 0.9 and 1.1

Newark and Sherwood, Slough and Wakefield will be removed from the Watchlist.

In Leeds, the coronavirus case rate is now 32.4 per 100,000 people, with council bosses blaming young people for spreading the virus to different parts of the city.


The council said COVID-19 is "increasingly detected in younger people aged 18-34, with some concern over activities like house parties and gatherings".

Andrew Carter, a local councillor who heads the Conservative group, told Sky News the change was "quite right" as there has been a "whiff of complacency".

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He complained parts of the city have been "left without much testing locally at all" – with one drive-through centre running "way below capacity".

It comes as the virus growth rate rose slightly from being between -2% and 1% to between -1% and 2% per day.

While the UK-wide R number – the average number of people someone with COVID-19 passes it on to – stayed the same at between 0.9 and 1.1.

The "areas of concern" list is published every Friday, revealing how coronavirus is spreading broken down by region.

Last week, Bury was one of the places where cases notably rose – up to 31.6 per 100,000 people.

But lots of other areas already facing greater restrictions saw cases decreasing, including Pendle, Oldham, Blackburn with Darwen, Manchester, Rochdale and Salford – although they remained at a high level relative to other parts of the country.

That led to the government initially saying it would ease tighter measures in Bolton and Trafford.

But after calls not to by the local councils, ministers U-turned and kept rules the same.

The relaxation of measures from midnight on Tuesday, 8 September will include:

  • Swimming pools, gyms and indoor sports facilities will be allowed to reopen in Leicester, remaining parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford
  • Casinos, ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas will be allowed to reopen in Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester – apart from Bolton
  • Socially distanced indoor performances will be allowed to take place in the above areas and restrictions on Read More – Source

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