Revellers enjoy night on the town 24 hours before mixing in pubs ban hits North
Revellers enjoyed a night out 24 hours before a new ban on mixing with others indoors hits the north of England.
Liverpool, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Warrington are set to see a new major clampdown from Saturday, with people banned from meeting in homes, pubs and more.
Photos from Thursday night show groups of young people enjoying a night on the town, many holding plastic pint glasses and wearing masks as they flooded onto the streets.
More than a third of the UK will be under heightened restrictions when the latest local lockdowns come into force.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday there were “early signs” that new restrictions imposed in the past month were beginning to have an impact.
But he announced new restrictions on north-west England, similar to those imposed in the North East earlier this week.
He told MPs that action was needed with there being 268 cases per 100,000 people in Liverpool.
It will be illegal for households to mix indoors there, as well as in Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, from Saturday.
Amendments to officially bring restrictions in those areas into line with the new North East measures have now been published.
In Middlesbrough, independent mayor Andy Preston said: “As things stand we defy the Government and we do not accept these measures.”
But it was later clarified that he will urge people and business to comply with the regulations.
Local lockdowns came into force in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham in North Wales from 6pm on Thursday.
In Northern Ireland, Londonderry and nearby town of Strabane will face new restrictions next week, with hospitality businesses reduced to takeaway, delivery and outdoor dining.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a “rapid review” of the local lockdown strategy and urged the Government to consider whether the 10pm curfew should remain.
Proposals being considered in Whitehall could see a simpler, three-tiered approach to local restrictions, but these have yet to be finalised.
Mr Hancock defended the 10pm curfew in pubs and restaurants but promised to do “whatever we can” to support the hospitality industry.
Meanwhile, Mr Shapps announced the latest countries to be removed from the safe travel corridor list, with holidaymakers cancelling their plans.
People returning from Turkey, Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba will have to isolate for 14 days if they arrive after 4am on Saturday.
The developments came as SNP MP Margaret Ferrier admitted breaking self-isolation rules by travelling to Parliament after experiencing symptoms and then taking a train to Scotland having tested positive.
Her party swiftly suspended her after the disclosure but leaders Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford were facing questions over what they knew and when amid anger at the MPs actions.