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Pubs, bars and restaurants in Bolton are being restricted to takeaway only as part of new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the town.

The Health Secretary said there had been a “very significant” increase of cases in the Greater Manchester town.

He said Bolton had 120 cases per 100,000 of population – the highest case rate in the country.

“Working with the local council, we are taking further local action. The rise in cases in Bolton is partly due to socialising by people in their twenties and thirties. We know this from contact tracing,” Mr Hancock told the Commons.

“Through our contact racing system we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly.”

The Secretary of State said the Government was therefore taking action “starting immediately”.

He added: “We will restrict all hospitality to takeaways-only and we’ll introduce a late-night restriction of operating hours which will mean all venues will be required to close from 10pm to 5am.

“We’ll introduce urgently further measures that put the current guidance that people cannot socialise outside their household into law.”

Mr Hancock said young people “don’t just spread the virus to each other” and added: “They spread the virus to their parents and their grandparents.

“They spread it to those they come in contact with and to others who they love.

“I know social distancing can be hard and how it’ll be extra tough for students who will be starting university.

“But, please, stick with it and play your part in getting this virus under control.”

He said he wanted to learn the lessons from Spain, America and France instead of suffering increased hospitalisations and more deaths in the UK.

The Health Secretary said visitor restrictions will also be put in place in care homes in Bolton.

Appealing to the people of Bolton, he added: “We’re asking you to take a step back at a time when we all just want to get on with our lives and what we love and back to normal. But we need to take this crucial step to keep the virus at bay.

“Because as we’ve seen elsewhere, if we act early and control the virus then we can save lives.”

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