Oldham could face a second lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases within days.
And it does not matter if the area in which you live has either none or very few people who have contracted Covid-19.
For complacency could come at a massive cost.
Oldham Council issued a plea for people to strictly observe tougher restrictions it brought in as the rate of transmission rose to 107.5 people per 100,000.
A total of 255 new cases in the borough were confirmed in the week until August 8 – Oldham now has the highest positivity rate of tests in the country, five per cent.
That would mean all non-essential businesses, including the area’s cafes, pubs and bars, as well as gyms, leisure centres and libraries. would be forced to shut their doors again, a month after they were allowed to reopen.
When Leicester was placed into local lockdown, that rate was 135 and both Oldham Council deputy leader Cllr Arooj Shah and director of public health Katrina Stephens spelled out just how close it could be.
Cllr Shah said: “If people don’t act now, it will be days – not even a week – before what could be a local lockdown.
“As a local authority, we’re really concerned and worried at the impact it could have socially, but more importantly, economically.
“When Leicester went into its lockdown, it was an extension of the national one. They hadn’t reopened any of their businesses. We have.
“To lose them will hit our economy significantly. That’s something we really want to avoid happening.
“When some of the restrictions were released, people just felt, ‘It’s fine, it’s over,’ but the virus has always been here and still is.
“People are probably really fatigued with it – I’m fatigued with it. People are fed up, they’re scared, they’re even angry and also confused.”
Dr Stephens added: “It’s difficult to predict whether the rise will continue and how quickly it will but looking back at the last two weeks, we saw a sudden increase, a levelling off and now a sudden increase over the last few days.
“It’s fair to say that based on our experience over the last few days, we could be talking days rather than weeks if these numbers don’t start to turn around.”
If lockdown is imposed, it will have to be by the Government and not Oldham Council.
And Dr Stephens confirmed that whoever enforces it – police or the local authority – will be decided when, or if, it is in place.
She insisted ‘large scale’ closure of bars and pubs can only come with national Government assistance after being asked why Auckland in New Zealand brought one back in after just four cases, the first in 102 days.
She added: “Additional measures were put in place in Oldham two weeks ago but unfortunately since then the numbers of people testing positive have continued to increase.
“If numbers continue to increase, clearly Oldham is at risk of a second lockdown coming into place.
“We can ill afford the impact that would have on the economy. We really need everyone in Oldham to act now.”
Some of the latest data actually shows the Saddleworth area has few, if any, coronavirus cases reported.
Springhead and Grasscroft with three and Lees and Hey with six are the only ones that register but nearby Salem has 12.
And Cllr Shah insisted that just because one area does not appear to have any, do not think you are in the clear.
She added: “It’s really important for people not to be complacent.
“We’ve seen cases across Oldham. Of course, rates are higher in some areas but no-one of us can be complacent about this as we all move around in the local area.
“You may be leaving an area with few cases but are in contact with someone from an area where there is, there can’t be that complacency.
“People need to take it really seriously and act like they, God forbid, have Covid-19 or that the people around them have.”