How 38MILLION people live in areas hardly affected by coronavirus

More than half the people in the UK are being forced into stricter coronavirus rules next week despite living in unaffected areas, because some parts of the country can't keep the virus under control.

Around 38million residents will be lumped into lockdown as the nation is told to 'limit social contact' and face fines or police action if they meet in groups of more than six people, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday.

Data shows that the UK's coronavirus outbreak is mostly being driven by cases in hotspots including Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Birmingham and Leicester, with many area are in local lockdown measures or receiving extra Government support.

 But 75 per cent of local areas have a case rate below 20 per 100,000 - the level at which quarantine measures are considered for foreign countries - yet will still be subject to the draconian new measures.

Rural areas in the South West, for example, have escaped the worst of the virus's impact for most of the outbreak but are still being subjected to the tough rules faced by the rest of the country. 

Lesser-affected areas include places such as Northumberland and Bishop Auckland in the North, to Weymouth, Ashford and Winchester in the south.

All will be required to ensure people meet in groups no larger than six indoors and outdoors, and subject to fines ranging from £100 to £3,200 if they fail to comply, despite their low numbers of coronavirus cases.

One Conservative MP told MailOnline it was unfair to apply the rules with such a 'broad brush', putting together people in at-risk inner city areas with those living in the spaced-out countryside.

Boris Johnson said at a Downing Street press briefing yesterday that the new restrictions were essential

Boris Johnson said at a Downing Street press briefing yesterday that the new restrictions were essential

A Conservative former Minister criticised the measures as a 'very broad brush' and said that something 'more concentrated' would have been better.

David Jones MP told MailOnline: 'I can understand that the Government has to do something, because there is certainly an uptick.

'But it is not an uptick across the country as a whole. There are some parts of the country such as Devon, Dorset where there is very little virus activity at all.

'So it does seem to be very broad brush... I would have thought something more concentrated would be better.'

He added that while crowded pubs had been 'asking for trouble' it was 'not something that appears to be uniform across the country'.

'Something more focused would be appropriate,' he said.

Dorset has recorded 37 cases in the past week, giving it a rate of just 8.7 per 100,000, according to official data. And Exeter, which is in Devon, has recorded 10 cases in the past week, giving it a rate of 7.7 per 100,000

Bolton currently has the highest rate of coronavirus infections in England, with 131.1 per 100,000 after another 377 cases were recorded. This is a sharp rise from the rate of 72.0 recorded seven days ago.

Bradford has the second highest rate, at 78.4 with 423 new cases, and Birmingham the third highest, at 77.1 with 880 new cases.

Max social gatherings SIX PEOPLE Applies indoors and outdoors Applies in private homes Applies in pubs and restaurants Does NOT apply to schools or workplaces Does NOT apply to weddings, funerals, team sport Does NOT apply if household bubbles are bigger than six people Police will be encouraged to break up larger groups and issue £100 fines, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200


Other areas of concern include Salford, at 70.7, , at 69.1, Manchester, at 64.9, Leeds, at 61.7, and Leicester, at 56.7.

But hundreds of other towns and villages in the UK are recording case rates at less than 20 per 100,000.

Local lockdowns are already in place for Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen,

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