British Health Minister Matt Hancock announced Thursday the government will broaden new COVID-19-related restrictions to Liverpool and other areas in northwest Britain after a surge in new cases in that region.
Speaking to parliament, Hancock said the restrictions are being extended to Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. The restrictions are the same as those imposed in the northeast on Wednesday: no social mixing between different households indoors.
Hancock also recommended against spectators attending professional or amateur sports events.
The health minister said the northwest has seen a recent surge in cases. "In Liverpool, the number of cases are 268 per 100,000 population, so together we need to act,” he said.
Hancock said the government is providing about $9 million in aid to local governments to support their anti-COVID-19 efforts.
He added that despite the quick spread of the virus in some parts of the country, there are early indications from the Imperial College of London that the “R number” — the rate of transmissions between people — is falling.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to citizens to follow the rules not only to protect public health, but the economy as well. He also said he would not hesitate to impose new restrictions where necessary to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19.
The disease has killed more than 42,000 people in the United Kingdom, according to the John Hopkins University COVID-19 Coronavirus Resource Center — more than in any other country in Europe.