COUNCIL chiefs fear Bury might be heading towards a further lockdown after 113 cases were recorded last week.

Just by Monday, the rate of cases for the borough had exceeded 50 per 100,000 people - in 'red alert' territory for areas at risk of wider restrictions,. like neighbouring Bolton where bars and restaurants have been forced to resume a takeout service.

And with the confirmation that 113 cases had been recorded across Bury for the seven days leading up to September 5, these concerns have been magnified.

Infections rates have increased from 25.8 cases per 100,000, in the preceding week, to 59.4, more than double the national average.

Younger working adults are said to form two-fifths of all cases - with the numbers of cases among the borough's South Asian heritage community dropping.

Cllr Andrea Simpson, health cabinet member, said: "These new figures are quite alarming, and show us how rapidly this virus can spread.

“We need to get this rate down urgently, or we risk being placed into the kind of additional measures that Bolton has seen this week, and other areas from Oldham to Rochdale and Leicester.

“Venues like pubs, cafes and restaurants have worked tremendously hard to get back to business following the lockdown.

"The last thing they need is to be forced to close again, like those in Bolton, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.”

Health chiefs say the largest number of new cases was in Whitefield, where a new rapid response walk-in testing site is set to open, but the spread is across all six townships.

And officials say the rise is not linked to testing - fewer checks at 2,387 were carried out than the previous week, when 2,608 came through the doors of testing facilities.

But the positivity rate has doubled from 2.5per cent to five per cent.

Household transmission also remains an important source of new infections, and acts as an amplifier of infections elsewhere in the community.

Cllr Simpson added: “This illness passes easily, quickly and from person to person and the only way we are going to stop it spreading is to stay apart – wash your hands, wear a face mask where required, and keep your distance from others.

“We must stick to the rules if we are to drive this illness out of our community.”

From next Monday, the Government is bringing in tougher restrictions across the whole of England.

Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal, indoors and outdoors, unless where a single household or support bubble is larger than six, or where the gathering is for work or education purposes.