The ‘R’ rate in the United Kingdom has risen to between 0.9-1.1, according to SAGE and the Government Office for Science.

The R number refers to the number of people on average that an infected person passes the virus onto.

Oldham, Pendle and Blackburn have escaped full local lockdowns and strict new social distancing measures have been introduced instead following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Different households will no longer be able to meet with each other in the three areas in any setting, including in parks and beer gardens – while extra restrictions which were in force in Wigan, Darwen and Rossendale have been removed.

Birmingham has also been added to this week’s watch list as an ‘Area of Enhanced Support’, and Northampton becomes an ‘Area of Intervention’.