One of the biggest daily rises in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic has been recorded across the North West.
A further 1,890 positive tests were confirmed across Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cumbria and Cheshire, bringing the region’s total to 73,988.
Huge increases were registered in Liverpool with 264 new cases along with 249 across the whole of Lancashire, 194 in Manchester, 132 in Wirral and 126 in Bolton.
The UK has recorded the highest single-day figure of coronavirus cases since the outbreak began with 6,634 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the four nations.
The surge has been described by Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, as a “stark warning” and insisted people must follow the stricter measures announced this week in order to help control the virus.
Separate data from Public Health England released this evening (September 24) shows that three North West areas now have infection rates over 200 per 100,000 people.
Bolton continues to record the highest rate in England at 218.4 with Burnley in third place on 204.7 and Knowsley in fourth on 204.2.
Liverpool is now sixth on the list at 192.2 while Blackburn with Darwen, Halton, Bury and Hyndburn make up the rest of the top 10.
Preston, Manchester, Oldham, Pendle, Rochdale, Rossendale and Wirral all feature in the top 20.
There are now 28 local authorities across the North West on ‘red alert’ status with infection rates over 50 cases per 100,000 people.
In Lancashire, the areas managed by Lancashire County Council now have 11,063 positive tests of Covid-19. In Blackpool there are now 1,307 while in Blackburn with Darwen the number has risen to 2,475.
The data is based on people being tested both through ‘Pillar 1’ – in hospitals – and Pillar 2 – drive-through test centres and swabs sent by post.
No daily figures have been released showing how many tests have been carried out in each area of the North West.
Total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus by North West borough as of Thursday, September 23:
There are 14,845 cases in Lancashire, 4283 in Bolton, 2334 in Bury, 2767 in Cheshire East, 2505 in Cheshire West and Chester, 3381 in Cumbria, 1170 in Halton, 1704 in Knowsley, 4911 in Liverpool, 6308 in Manchester, 3867 in Oldham, 3043 in Rochdale, 2724 in Salford, 2389 in Sefton, 1861 in St Helens, 2495 in Stockport, 2747 in Tameside, 2112 in Trafford, 2131 in Warrington, 3059 in Wigan and 3352 in Wirral.
It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak said a multibillion-pound package of support for the economy may not be enough to prevent rising unemployment and businesses going to the wall.
The resurgence of coronavirus poses a threat to the UK’s “fragile” economic recovery, the Chancellor said, as he confirmed plans for the state to top up the wages of workers forced to cut their hours due to the pandemic.
The Job Support Scheme was aimed at protecting “viable” roles once the furlough scheme comes to an end, with Mr Sunak arguing it would be “fundamentally wrong” for people to be kept in jobs that can only exist due to state funding.
Other measures included in the package include an extension of the VAT cut for tourism and hospitality and more flexible terms for the repayment of Government-backed loans.
City analysts Capital Economics put the cost of the announcements at around £5 billion.
Keep up to date with all the latest news
The Job Support Scheme, which will last for six months from November, will see the state and employers top up the wages of staff working at least a third of their normal hours, with companies which did not take part in the furlough scheme also allowed to apply.
Under the scheme, a worker doing a third of their normal hours will still receive 77% of their usual pay, up to a cap – 33% from their firm for the hours worked, a 22% top-up from the employer and a further 22% from the state.
It will cost the Treasury an estimated £300 million a month for every million workers who take up the scheme – with Government contributions per worker limited to £697.92 per month.
By comparison, the furlough scheme which expires on October 31 has cost the Government £39.3 billion – about £6 billion a month.
The scheme will be targeted at small and medium-sized firms with fewer than 250 employees – larger companies will only be eligible if they can show their turnover has been hit as a result of coronavirus.
You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here.
For the latest news and breaking news visit the LancsLive website.
Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you.
Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on firstname.lastname@example.org.