Council leaders in Bolton have asked the Government to scrap plans to ease coronavirus restrictions from tomorrow after an 'unforeseen' spike in cases.
Social gatherings between two homes were due to resume for the first time in weeks from Wednesday as restrictions were eased in Bolton and other parts of northern England.
However, a sharp increase in the local infection rate over the past week has now led to a U-turn from the council.
The request was made following an emergency meeting between officials as the rate of new Covid-19 cases more than tripled from 18.4 per 100,000 people to 56.4.
Bolton town centre this morning, before news broke today that Greater Manchester and Bolton council are calling for Bolton to remain in Covid-19 restrictions as the borough tips towards the government's 'red' threshold for cases
A lone resident walking through Bolton town centre this morning while wearing a face mask
Analysis showed that new cases in Bolton were spread across the borough and not limited to a single area, community, or place of work, said the council.
Conservative leader of Bolton Council, Councillor David Greenhalgh
Infections between different households appear to be the main cause of the spike with people aged 18-49 representing the overwhelming majority of new cases, it added.
Conservative leader of Bolton Council, Councillor David Greenhalgh, said: 'It is with a heavy heart that the cabinet and officer team have come to this decision and this will be incredibly disappointing for both residents and business owners.
'We urged the Government to lift Bolton out of the additional restrictions at a time when infection rates were low.
'This was the right decision at the time.
'However, there has been a sudden and unforeseeable rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Bolton.
'We have always been led by the data, which means we have no choice but to act quickly to keep