OLDHAM is just 48 hours away from being thrown into a Leicester-style lockdown with 'catastrophic' effects, its council leader has warned.
Ministers are set to hold a meeting on Thursday to decide whether to increase, extend or decrease lockdown measures across Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire.
But while many neighbouring areas have seen coronavirus cases fall in recent weeks, Oldham's have increased and the town now has the highest infection rate in England.
Council leader Sean Fielding told the Guardian: "Everything that is within our power we are doing, and there is some early evidence that is having an effect on the infection rate.
"But we do need more time to see if that has really played out. I do think that moving into a local lockdown would be really premature."
Leicester became the first UK area to be placed into local lockdown in June as cases spiralled to 135 cases per 100,000 people.
The restrictions saw pubs and non-essential shops closed and residents told not to travel outside the area unless absolutely necessary.
Oldham currently stands at 83.1 cases per 100,000, slightly down from a peak of 107.5
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says the ban on mixing with other households could be relaxed this week – in everywhere except Oldham.
Tougher lockdown rules were reintroduced in parts of northern England on July 31 following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.
Around 4.5 million people in East Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester were told not to socialise with others in pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops or places of worship to curb the spread of the virus.
The latest figures for Greater Manchester showed Oldham had 108.4 cases per 100,000 people while Rochdale had 46.3.
Manchester had 42.3, Salford 32.8, and Tameside 31.8 – all far higher than the UK-wide average of 17.3.
But Mr Burnham believes some restrictions will soon be lifted.
He said: "Hopefully, we will begin to see some people getting released.
"If things stay as they are I think it is likely that we would see a change."
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