A holidaymaker who did not self-isolate after returning from a trip abroad was partly responsible for the ‘extreme’ rise in coronavirus cases in Bolton.

Council leader David Greenhalgh said the area’s high rate had been linked back to pubs in the town and a ‘cohort of people’ who refused to follow the guidance.

He told told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We had somebody who did not adhere to quarantine, did not stay the 14 days, literally went on a pub crawl with a number of mates.

‘From that incident which took place over a weekend, (they) visited a number of premises, led to a large number of individual transmissions from that one person which you can imagine then is like holding back the tide because he then became symptomatic two days after they had all gone on this pub crawl.

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‘He was positive-tested the following day.

‘That is four or five days where all the people he was in contact with have been going about their normal day-to-day business.’

Mr Greenhalgh said the rise in cases took the council by surprise as they were pushing for further easing of the restrictions at the time.

He said the area saw an ‘extreme spike’ with cases rising from 12 per 100,000 to 212 cases in less than three weeks.

This spike has made Bolton’s coronavirus rates the highest in the country, leaving the town subject to tougher measures than the rest of England with hospitality venues only allowed to operate as takeaways and ordered to shut by 10pm.

This comes as the government announces a new fine for people who refuse to self-isolate after testing positive or coming into contact with an infected person.

Ministers are toughening up their stance by making the current guidance a legal requirement from September 28.

With new cases of the infection doubling every week, Boris Johnson said the measures were necessary to control the spread of the virus and to protect the most vulnerable from becoming infected.

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