PEOPLE living in Bolton are being told not to travel in and out of the town unless it is essential, under new guidelines  published.

The Government has issued new advice for people living in Bolton and a handful of other places where the Indian variant of coronavirus is spreading fast.

It comes as reports that covid admissions to Royal Bolton Hospital have jumped to 43.

The new guidelines are thought to have taken everyone by surprise, including Bolton's public health directors and councillors. 

The Bolton News understands the new advice was published at the end of last week, but the Government made no official announcement.

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Bolton has the highest covid infection rate in the country, with more than 90 per cent of cases said to be of Indian mutation.

The Government has said wherever possible, people shouldavoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work, which cannot be done at home,  or for education.

Advice is to meet people outside rather than inside, where possible, and to keep two metres apart from people not in a support bubble or in the same household.

The Indian variant, says the Government, is spreading fast in Bolton as well as Bedford; Blackburn with Darwen; Burnley Borough; Kirklees ; Leicester; London Borough of Hounslow.

People in Bolton and the other areas named are told to:

Get tested twice a week for free and isolate if they are positive

Continue to work from home if they can

Get vaccinated when they are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well

People should get tested for COVID-19. This includes:

Arranging to have a PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19
Participating in surge testing in your local area
Getting regular rapid tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The latest Government information about 'what you can and cannot do' can be found here

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “I was not told about this new guidance and I don’t think anybody was.

“I have only just found out about this new guidance, and it just shows the incompetence of the Government in dealing with this.

“India should have been put on the quarantine list ages ago but wasn’t because the Government wanted a deal.

“If this guidance was so important why did no one know about it.

“I am very angry and upset on behalf of my constituents who may have booked to go away to see family, paid for rail tickets, made arrangements.

“Had they known about this guidance I am sure the majority would not have made plans. It leaves them in a very difficult situation because these new guidelines are advisory."

The week on week infections in the borough have been soaring over recent weeks due to the prevalence of the Indian variant of Covid-19, with the majority of new cases being this strain according to public health teams.

In the seven days to May 20, Bolton recorded 1296 new positive cases of Covid-19, an increase of over 400 in the previous seven days to May 13 (812 new cases).

This gives Bolton an infection rate of 450.7 new positive cases per 100,000 residents, up from 282.4 per 100,000 to May 13.