Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that bars and restaurants in Bolton would only be allowed to operate take-out services and were to close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Ministers are reportedly considering extending the “curfew” nationwide following similar successful measures in Belgium.
A high-level government source said ministers have spoken of extending the curfew nationwide, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Jeremy Hunt, Conservative chairman of the Commons Health and Welfare Select Committee, asked if the government would draw inspiration from South Korea and Hong Kong as successful countries to avoid a second lockdown in the UK United.
BREXIT BULLETIN: Sign up for our special edition newsletter with an exclusive preview of this week’s crisp discussions
Mr Hancock replied: ‘In some countries, not only in the Far East but also closer to home, they have seen an increase in cases, especially among young people, have taken action and that has reversed the trend.
“This is particularly true, for example, in Belgium, which we were very concerned about a month ago, but the case rate dropped as soon as they instituted a curfew.”
He continued, “We will intensify communications, ensuring that people are reminded very clearly and with clarity of the rules.
“We will also take steps to strengthen enforcement to ensure that we can keep this virus under control until we can develop both the mass testing capability.
READ MORE: Coronavirus vaccine study ‘suspended’ after adverse reaction
Peter Sutton, of Millstone in central Bolton, said he was “embarrassed” after being told of the news by a regular.
Speaking to MailOnline, he said he checked the restrictions online and had to force ad goers to finish their drinks and leave at 2:30 p.m.
Mr. Sutton added, “It’s painful to be operational and to have to close. No notice was given and I only discovered it through a bettor.
“It’s very embarrassing… It would be nice if it was only two or three weeks, then we should be fine.”
He continued, “I think everyone knew about the new pub rules.
“We closed around 2:30 pm and told everyone that it was closing time and people just needed to finish their drinks and go.
Mr Hancock discussed the new restrictions in Bolton during a statement in the House of Commons.
He said: “Unfortunately, after improving for several weeks, we have seen a very significant increase in cases in Bolton.
“Bolton represents up to 120 cases per 100,000 population, the highest case rate in the country and I publish the data behind the decisions we made. I must therefore tell this House that by working with the local council, we are taking new measures at the local level.
“The increase in cases in Bolton is in part due to the socialization of people in their 20s and 30s, we know from contact tracing and through our contact tracing system we have identified a number of pubs in which the virus has spread significantly.