BURY is to remain under the 'Northern Lockdown' GM leaders confirmed today ­— as three neighbouring areas saw restrictions lifted.

Infection rates in the borough have continually risen in recent weeks, meaning Bury now has one of the highest rates in England.

Seven new walk-in Covid-19 testing centres are to open across the borough to help tackle the increasing number of cases.

The location for these new testing centres has not yet been revealed.

They are, however, intended to make it easier for those without transport to get tested, Bury Council said.

Earlier this week, health and council bosses revealed that Bury is now "firmly in the Government's sights" and could face tougher lockdown measures being imposed.

Leaders reiterated this warning today and said they feel the borough should remain subject to the current, extra restrictions, prohibiting households from mixing indoors, until the Covid-19 rate begins to come down.

Councillor Andrea Simpson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We all want the Government to lift restrictions in Bury as soon as possible, but we accept that they must continue – our infection rate is increasing while the rate is falling elsewhere.

“It’s clear and simple – if cases don’t start to fall, we risk going back into lockdown."

Today, the Government announced three more Greater Manchester districts – Trafford, Bolton and Stockport – are to out of local restrictions from next due to falling infection rates in those boroughs.

These areas join Wigan, Burnley and Hyndburn, along with parts of Bradford, Calderdale, and Kirklees; to see restrictions lifted.

Bury’s rate, however, has risen for the sixth consecutive week and now stands at 35.2 per 100,000 population.

It is feared these numbers are likely to be even higher as not everyone who is infected notices their symptoms or gets tested.

This increase means Bury’s Covid-19 infection rate is three times the national average and the 13th highest in England.

The largest number of cases have been recorded in Whitefield.

However, cases are evenly spread out among all areas of the borough.

People aged between 18 and 39 account for more than half of the new cases in Bury.

The percentage of positive tests in Bury has also increased.

Transmission of the virus within households is a significant source of new infections.

This occurs when people spread the virus to members of their family after catching it in the community.

Cllr Simpson added: "Unfortunately, too many people ­— who are not exempt­ — are not wearing masks in shops, are still meeting up in large groups from several households, and not keeping two metres apart.

"A few then catch the virus, and bring it home to spread among their families.

“The council and the police are carrying out enforcement of the restrictions, visiting a range of bars and restaurants and giving advice and in some cases warnings to premises which needed to toughen up their Covid-safe arrangements.

"We have also contacted all the supermarkets in Bury reminding them of their responsibilities and the need to enforce the wearing of face masks unless people are exempt.

“But ultimately the only thing that will work is for people to take responsibility for their actions and follow the guidance and the law.

“With schools and colleges about to reopen next week, it’s essential that we all work together to reduce the risks of transmission.”