Infections between different households appear to be the main cause of the spike in coronavirus cases in Bolton, borough health chiefs say. 

And people aged 18-49 represent the 'overwhelming majority' of new cases.

Town chiefs made the announcement as they asked for coronavirus restrictions to remain in place following an 'unforeseen' spike in the local infection rate. 

They also said analysis has shown new cases are spread across the borough and are not limited to a single area, community, or place of work.

Restrictions banning people from different households from meeting indoors or private gardens were due to be lifted tomorrow.

However, the council has asked for restrictions to remain in place after figures revealed the local infection rate has jumped to 56.4 cases per 100,000.

The decision would also mean that certain businesses, including those offering close contact services, will not reopen as planned.

Last week, the government agreed to lift extra restrictions in Bolton, and other areas, due to steadily falling COVID-19 rates.

But following an emergency meeting it has been requested that the additional restrictions remain until further notice.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr 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 everyone safe.

“The rate stands at 56.4 per 100,000 which makes us a key area of concern within the UK. We need to take this seriously and follow the regulations.”

Bolton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey, said: “When the request was made last week, COVID-19 cases were being managed in the community and rates were steadily falling.

“In a short space of time, that rate has jumped from 18.4 to 56.4. This highlights how quickly the virus spreads and the importance of following the regulations closely.

“Do not meet up with people you do not live with either inside or in a private garden. Maintain social distancing, wash your hand regularly and wear a face covering when required.”