Millions of people living in Greater Manchester and Lancashire have been asked not to travel outside their areas to try to limit the spread of the new Delta variant of COVID-19.
However, ministers have stopped short of issuing a travel ban, saying only that people should limit their travel plans if possible.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “This is guidance, it is advice to the public, it is not a lockdown, it is not a ban.”
He said residents weren’t being told to cancel existing plans, but they were being asked to think carefully about making new plans and to minimise non-essential travel.
The Government is also advising more than five million people living in the affected areas of the northwest to be cautious about social interaction and to try to only meet outside, if possible.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government is providing additional support for the region to tackle rising cases of the Indian variant, which is now known as the Delta variant, including extra testing, military support for increased testing and house to house calls, and supervised testing in schools.
COVID hospital admissions across Greater Manchester have more than doubled in the last two weeks, with 31 out of 131 coronavirus patients in hospital intensive care.
The spread of the Delta variant and rising hospitalisations is causing concern that the Government might delay the lifting of remaining COVID restrictions on 21 June.