Britons have been warned to not travel in or out of eight Indian variant hotspots but the government has been accused of having “no strategy”.
The new rules apply to Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside
Residents in these areas need to maintain social distancing, not meet people from outside their families and not to meet outdoors.
Local MPs and councillors are angry that they were not consulted over the advice, made because of the Indian variant
Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said the government’s actions were “utterly shameful”.
“The government needs to provide clarity, fast. Local lockdowns are the wrong approach for both public health and local economies,” he said.
Dominic Harrison, the director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen council, said the announcement came out of the blue.
“This advice has massive implications for school trips, for hospitality, for people playing football matches, for small businesses, and for the economic recovery for town centres. The fact that the government has just announced it without consultation or evidence is astonishing,” he said.
“It does reflect the fact that in relation to our management of surges in areas that have variants, we simply have no strategy at the moment. What we seem to be subject to is random policy announcements,” he added.
The Indian variant has already spread across almost half of England and is thought to be the dominant strain in the country, even more so than the Kent variant. The Indian variant is also thought to be around 30 per cent more transmissible.
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