CARE homes in Bolton are being urged not to lift restrictions on visitor numbers as the borough battles to contain Covid-19.

From Monday, residential homes will be given the green light to increase visitors from two to five.

But Town Hall chiefs are recommending this does not happen in Bolton as the number of coronavirus cases, linked to the Indian variant continue to rise.

The Bolton News understands that every residential and nursing home in Bolton has been contacted urging them to stick to restrictions with a review to be be locally reviewed in a fortnight in the best interests of residents.

Cllr Andy Morgan, who runs a care home and is executive cabinet member for adult services, told The Bolton News: "The government want to allow five named visitors for all care home residents from Monday.

"I have given direction to officers that we should instruct Bolton care providers not to implement this guidance until such time as this current spike starts to reduce.

"We will review this in two weeks time."

He added: "We have advised providers accordingly today.

"I personally will do all we need to do to ensure we, as a council, provide the appropriate support and guidance to providers to ensure that the current spike does not get into our care homes as it did at the start of the pandemic."

Those visiting relatives in care homes are being asked to use specially designed visiting pods or meet outside if possible to minimise the transmission of coronavirus.

Bolton has the highest covid infection rate in the country, and Cllr Morgan has added his voice to the growing call to vaccinate all those aged 16 and above in a bid to contain the virus,  alongside the surge testing currently taking place in Rumworth, Deane and Great Lever areas.

Bolton, has one of the highest case rates of the variant in the country and mobile testing units have been deployed and door-to-door PCR Covid testing has been offered to 22,000 residents.

A vaccine bus has been set up to increase uptake among those who are eligible and a rapid response team of 100 nurses, public health advisers and environmental health officers has been sent in.