WARRINGTON Borough Council has warned residents not to visit other households in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The town’s public health leaders have issued the appeal amid a ‘rapid and steep’ rise in the number of Covid-19 cases over the past couple of weeks.

Confirmed cases over the most-recently verified seven day period, leading up to September 9, were more than 200.

WBC says there is ‘clear evidence that households are the most likely setting for the virus to spread’ and that residents should avoid visiting others at home as a result.

This includes visits in private gardens.

But a maximum of six people from multiple households can meet in outdoor, public spaces.

The council says this will be kept ‘under constant review’, but a formal assessment will be made in three weeks’ time on October 5.

Executive board member for public health Cllr Maureen McLaughlin said: “Our call to ask residents not to visit each other’s households is a strong response, but a necessary one, to help prevent further transmission of the virus.

“We have seen a very large increase of cases in the town over recent weeks, and now is the time to take necessary action.

“As we have seen in other areas that have been under formal local lockdown – such as Greater Manchester, which we border – stopping people from visiting other households indoors is one of the first measures we need to take to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

“We know this is a big ask, but the reality is we have little choice.

“If we stop visiting other people in their homes and gardens and continue to maintain excellent hand hygiene, keep our distance, wear face coverings where necessary, and get tested if we develop symptoms we stand a fighting chance of Warrington not entering a formal local lockdown.”

The council says that residents should get tested for coronavirus if they have had symptoms such as a persistent cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell.

Director of public health Thara Raj added: “Evidence clearly shows that households are the most likely setting for the virus to be passed on to other people, so I would ask residents to observe our new guidance and not visit other people at home.

“You should still be able to meet other people from different households outdoors, as long as you aren’t meeting in private gardens.

“Please remember to keep your distance from others and not meet in a group any larger than six people.

“It is also clear that if you are in settings where there are people from multiple different households, like restaurants and bars, you are more likely to get the virus.

“So whilst you can still go to meet other people in settings like restaurants, please do all you can to keep your distance from people not in your household and follow each venue’s Covid-secure guidance.

“This is the model currently being enforced in areas where formal local lockdowns are in place such as Greater Manchester – which has seen success in locations like Stockport, for example, which has recently had lockdown restrictions lifted.

“With case numbers on the rise, we cannot afford to be complacent, so please stick to the basics but also do not visit other households if you can help it.”