Businesses in Middlesbrough warned of potential lockdown as breakouts occur

Businesses and people in a North East town have been warned to act now to avoid the threat of a lockdown linked to a rise in coronavirus cases.

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said he fears the town is “on the fringe of something serious” after the the council and Public Health England responded to several coronavirus breakouts in recent days.

Mr Preston said: “It’s never our intention to cause unnecessary alarm, but as a town we need to get a grip of this virus and break the chains of transmission now.

“The problem we have is a scattering of cases from different parts of Middlesbrough that have the potential to grow. It’s now beyond urgent that we do all we can to stop the spread.

“Please wear a face covering – for your sake and everyone else’s. Wash your hands, keep your distance from those you don’t live with and remember the more contact you have with others the more likely it is you will be infected.”

A further 14 positive tests were reported on Wednesday, following 12 on Tuesday and eight on Monday. The positive tests span a wide age range and different ethnicities, while several separate sources of infection are under investigation.

A number of areas in the North West, plus cities including Leicester, Aberdeen and Glasgow, have had restrictions put in place in recent weeks after a rise in case numbers.

Coronavirus restrictions in the Great Manchester areas of Bolton and Trafford were eased and then re-imposed following a “significant change” in infection rates in both areas.

The U-turn from Health Secretary Matt Hancock came after council leaders in both boroughs had pleaded for the ban on two households mixing to be maintained.

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