The North West recorded more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, according to new official figures.
The total number of positive tests across Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria now stands at 70,831.
This is up from 69,450 cases yesterday and makes it one of the biggest daily rises recorded since the start of the pandemic.
In a sombre TV address to the nation, the Prime Minister warned of “difficult months to come” and said the battle with coronavirus was “far from over”
Mr Johnson said the new curbs on daily life were vital to preventing the virus from spiralling further out of control – and warned if people don’t follow the rules “then we must reserve the right to go further”.
Urging the public to think of others, he warned: “Your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell.”
Public Health England data released this evening (September 22) also shows that nine out of the top 10 highest infection rates in England are in the North West, with Bolton first, Hyndburn second, Preston third, Halton fourth, Blackburn with Darwen fifth, Liverpool sixth, Knowsley seventh, Rossendale eighth and Burnley ninth.
Bury, Pendle, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, Wirral and Rochdale also feature in the top 20.
In Bolton, 601 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 19 – the equivalent of 209.0 per 100,000 people. It continues to record the highest rate in England, though it is down from 219.8 in the seven days to September 12.
Separate PHE figures released this afternoon show that in Lancashire, the areas managed by Lancashire County Council now have 10,695 positive tests of Covid-19. In Blackpool there are now 1,276 while in Blackburn with Darwen the number has risen to 2,408.
A further 330 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours as Preston posted the biggest daily increase with 62 new positive tests.
Cumbria recorded one of its biggest daily rises in recent weeks with 27 new cases with there were big jumps across local authorities in Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cumbria.
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 Tuesday, September 22:
There are 14,379 cases in Lancashire, 4,070 in Bolton, 2,225 in Bury, 2,698 in Cheshire East, 2,453 in Cheshire West and Chester, 3,316 in Cumbria, 1,091 in Halton, 1,569 in Knowsley, 4,515 in Liverpool, 5,990 in Manchester, 3,737 in Oldham, 2,920 in Rochdale, 2,614 in Salford, 2,251 in Sefton, 1,765 in St Helens, 2,418 in Stockport, 2,647 in Tameside, 2,041 in Trafford, 2,002 in Warrington, 2,954 in Wigan and 3,176 in Wirral
The country faces an “unquestionably difficult” winter, Boris Johnson warned after announcing coronavirus restrictions which could last six months.
The Prime Minister set out a package of measures for England, with office staff once again working from home, the wider use of face masks and a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.
He said that the new curbs could continue well beyond Christmas and new year unless there was progress in controlling the spread of the virus – and indicated tougher restrictions could be imposed if they failed.
The new package of measures – and similar or tougher measures elsewhere in the UK – followed scientists’ warnings that the number of cases was doubling every seven days.
Mr Johnson said: “While the vast majority have complied with the rules, there have been too many breaches – too many opportunities for our invisible enemy to slip through undetected.
“The virus has stated to spread again in an exponential way. Infections are up, hospital admissions are climbing.”
Businesses will face £10,000 fines or closure for failing to comply with coronavirus rules, and people risk £200 penalties for failing to wear masks or breaching the “rule of six”.
The military could be used to free up police officers to tackle coronavirus rulebreakers.
Mr Johnson said he was “deeply, spiritually reluctant” to infringe on people’s freedoms, but unless action was taken now there would be a need for harsher measures later “when the deaths have already mounted”.
But Mr Johnson finished his televised address with a plea for a “spirit of togetherness”, to get the country though the months ahead.
“If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together,” he said. “There are unquestionably difficult months to come.
“And the fight against Covid is by no means over. I have no doubt, however, that there are great days ahead.”
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