There has been confusion about how widely the new restrictions applied in parts of northern England and the handling of the announcement was criticised by both Labour and Conservative MPs.
The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said announcing the lockdown measures “late at night on Twitter” was “a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis”.
He added: “When the government ended the daily press conferences, they said they would hold them for ‘significant announcements’, including local lockdowns. It’s hard to imagine what could be more significant than this.
In his statement, Hancock said that from midnight last night“people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors” in Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and the city of Leicester.
In 13 of the 19 local authority areas affected, the rate of Covid-19 in the seven days to 27 July has gone up, with 1,536 cases recorded across all the areas in the space of a week.