OFFICIALS will push for Bolton to move to Tier 2 when the coronavirus restrictions are reviewed on December 16.

Measures put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus could be relaxed next week after infection rates across the borough dropped significantly.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Council, vowed to push for the change in rules.

He said: “It is great news that our cases continue to come down in Bolton. They are still high but we have a downward trajectory.

“I do believe this justifies the argument for a move to Tier 2, and one which I will be making.

“We still need to act cautiously and follow all guidance, but I genuinely believe that if non-essential retail can open, then restaurants and those pubs, who have gone that extra mile to create safe environments for their customers, should also be allowed to open under the restrictions.

“There will be no actual formal consultation from Government this time, we will simply be notified of a decision, but I will make my views known.

"Whatever the outcome, we have one common goal of returning to normality, and that can only be achieved by getting our cases down and by following the guidance."

Officials have said that Greater Manchester has a strong case for being moved into Tier 2 restrictions.

Across the area, mortality rates, hospital admissions and the number of covid-19 patients needing to be mechanically ventilated were all down.

In Bolton, 108 patients at the Royal Bolton Hospital needed treatment for covid-19 – down from 143 seen the month before.

Cllr Nick Peel, Labour leader in Bolton, called for caution over the news. He said: "We've seen this pattern before, full lockdown prompts a decline in the infection rate - there’s always a few weeks delay so this decline is directly from the lockdown.

"Evidence shows that the infection rate declines when restrictions prevent mixing so they drop when we have restrictions on, and rise when they’re relaxed so this is the dangerous time for people.

"This is a critical time because if people get too relaxed and think things are back to normal, that infection rate will go back up and restrictions will come back in.

"It’s good news that infection rates are dropping, but caution is vital – public health teams across the country are preparing for a third wave in January so it's really important that people carry on following the rules, washing their hands, and practicing social distancing."

Cllr Greenhalgh also reminded people to be careful. He added “For us all to benefit from these businesses and for them to have the opportunity to open and remain open, we must all act responsibly.

“We now have the beginnings of the vaccine being rolled out. We can see light at the end of the tunnel.

“We have done so much better in recent weeks. Let us continue and celebrate safely and responsibly over the coming weeks in order to protect ourselves and others.”