THE CORONAVIRUS infection rate across the borough has more than tripled in the last week.

A total of 333 cases were confirmed across the town in the week between August 27 and September 3, the equivalent of 115.8 cases per 100,000 people.

The latest rate is the highest the town has ever recorded, and puts Bolton as the most infectious area of the country.

In the seven days up to August 27, just 36.5 cases were recorded per 100,000 people – less than a third of the current figures.

On Saturday, stricter coronavirus measures were brought into effect in Bolton, urging residents to avoid non-essential travel on public transport and to avoid mixing with other households at all.

Speaking after the new rules were announced, Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, and Tony Oakman, Chief Executive of the council, said: “It has been a tough period for individuals, families and businesses but we don’t want to throw away all our hard work by allowing the infection rate to rise even higher.

“Now, more than ever, we need everyone in Bolton to play their part.

“Nobody wants these restrictions to remain a moment longer than necessary and we believe these new measures will keep everyone safe and help avoid a full lockdown in Bolton.

“Since the start of this pandemic, the people of Bolton have worked incredibly hard to combat this pandemic. Alongside a range of additional measures and interventions across Bolton we are asking everyone, particularly the younger age groups, to continue to follow the guidelines.”

Home testing kits have been handed out to some residents, and additional testing will take place across the borough to identify new cases and prevent the spread.

Most of the new cases have been seen in people aged between 18 and 49 years old, with more than 90 per cent of the new infections seen in this age group.

Dr Helen Lowey, Director of Public Health at the council, added:“This is a crucial stage in our response to the coronavirus and what we will do now will significantly impact how quickly we can reduce the rate to as low a level as possible.

“Evidence from Oldham and Blackburn shows stopping households mixing works.

“For this to work, we all need to play our part to protect our vulnerable friends and relatives.

“As well as these additional measures, please remember the importance of washing hands, maintaining distance, wearing a face covering and getting a test if you have symptoms.”

When Leicester was put into full local lockdown at the end of June, the area was reporting an infection rate of 127.