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A large UK town has been forced to shut all of its pubs again following a surge in coronavirus cases, the government has announced.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock made the statement on Tuesday, affecting all boozers in Bolton, Greater Manchester.
Hospitality venues are being restricted to take away only in the town to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the town, the minister told MPs in parliament on Tuesday afternoon.
It comes after at least five businesses in the town of more than 190,000 had to close over the weekend.
Bolton said the new restrictions aim to prevent a full lockdown after the town's infection rate increased to 99 per 100,000 people per week, the highest in England.
Those aged between 18 and 49 account for more than 90% of cases, the local authority said.
The town's council leader has said: "All options are on the table" when it comes to local restrictions as Bolton battles a "sudden" and "extreme" spike in Covid-19 cases.
David Greenhalgh, asked by opposition Labour councillor Martin Donaghy, refused to rule out a "total lockdown" of the town again.
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The council leader was quoted in The Bolton News as saying: "I think nobody at this stage can sensibly rule out anything.
"I think we have to be drawn by the evidence, drawn by the data and take advice from our experts and clinicians and it would be wholly irresponsible for me at this stage to rule anything in or rule anything out.
"We have to respond when we see the data. Clearly this is a very worrying time for Bolton.
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"I think we can appreciate the level of the spike has been sudden, it's been unpredicted and it's been extreme."
He went on: "There have been meetings over the past few days with our own chief officers, Public Health England, the Secretary of State's department and the Cabinet Office.
"We're doing all we can to keep to some degree of normality for the residents of this town but discussions are ongoing about what level is needed if the cases continue to rise."
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