OLDHAM will remain in the highest level of Covid-19 regulations after a Government review.
Hopes were building the borough would be downgraded to tier two because of falling coronavirus rates.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced there will be no change from the current arrangements.
That dashes the hopes of many pub landlords and hospitality business owners of being able to open or open more fully.
However, Mr Hancock told the House of Commons: “We must keep supressing this virus. We’ve come so far, we must not blow it now.
“I know tier three measures are tough but the best way for people to get out of them is to pull together.”
Latest figures show Oldham’s rate of infections was below England’s national average – but had increased by 17 per cent week on week.
And Mr Hancock announced many more areas in the south and south east of England will enter tier three while only three were downgraded.
Bristol and North Somerset will drop from tier three to two from 12.01am on Saturday while Herefordshire goes from tier two to one.
Mr Hancock added: “We must keep doing whatever it takes to protect the NHS and those we love.”
The fact tens of millions of people in England are now living in tier three areas, with no sign of them exiting, is seen as hypocritical to the proposed Christmas arrangements, which will allow up to three households to mix.
And Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Two weeks ago, Mr Hancock said, ‘We have the virus under control and we can’t risk letting cases rise again.’
“I’m afraid that’s exactly what’s happening, isn’t it?
“This is not about cancelling Christmas but is he really telling us that allowing the mixing of three households for five days is sensible?”