Lockdown restrictions are to be lifted in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire thanks to a drop in coronavirus cases.

The Government announced on Friday that “positive progress” means two households can mix again in areas including Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Hyndburn and Burnley.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said some improvements occurred in Leicester, though current restrictions will remain inn place for a further two weeks as cases “remain high”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he has “every faith” in people across the country in following local rules.

“We brought in measures to protect people in these parts of northern England, and I want to thank residents who have worked so hard to get on top of this virus,” he said.

“We’re seeing the positive results of our local approach and are able to bring in increasingly targeted measures.

“It is vital we can maintain this good progress,” he added.

“I have every faith people across the county, especially in areas where we are seeing higher numbers of cases, will continue to play their part by following local rules, and self-isolating and requesting a free test as soon as they get any symptoms.”

From next Wednesday, restrictions on the mixing of two households – introduced last month – will be lifted in Bolton, Stockport, Trafford, Burnley and Hyndburn.

The move will also impact on parts of Bradford excluding Bradford city and Keighley town, parts of Calderdale excluding Halifax, and parts of Kirklees excluding Dewsbury and Batley.

The weekly Local Action Gold Committee, chaired by Mr Hancock, agreed local restrictions would continue in some areas.

A ban on two households mixing indoors will remain in City of Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Bury and Tameside.

In Oldham, in addition to a household mixing ban indoors, residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from anther household anywhere.

Cases per 100,000 in Oldham reached 67.1 during the week ending August 20 – the second highest in England, the Government said.

A Government statement said: “In Pendle and Blackburn residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere.

“Some businesses and organisations remain closed in Blackburn and Darwen.

“Pendle had the highest number of cases per 100,000 anywhere in England during the week ending August 20, reaching 67.8.

“The ban on two households mixing indoors will continue in Preston.

“On top of the indoor gatherings restrictions, some leisure sector businesses will continue to remain closed.

“The next review of these measures will take place by September 11.”

It added: “In Kirklees, the ban on indoor household gatherings will continue in Dewsbury and Batley. The ban will also continue in parts of Calderdale.”

Earlier, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said: “The rate of infection and the percentage of people testing positive is coming down in Pendle but we are not complacent.

“We have tested more people than anywhere in the North West – over 15,000 people in Pendle have been tested so far and this approach is working.

“The Government is expected to confirm today that the restrictions for Pendle are still in place, including the local guidance residents in Nelson and Brierfield need to follow.

“We are urging everyone to please continue following the local measures in place to bring the down the percentage of people testing positive.”

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