Calls for local lockdowns as study finds R value above 1 in north-west England

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Matt Hancock defends easing of lockdown as regional leaders say they fear second spike in deaths

The government is under pressure to bring in tougher local lockdowns in some areas, as a new study showed the R value was rising across England and had tipped above 1 in the north-west for the first time since the peak of the coronavirus epidemic.

The development raises concerns that a return to stricter physical distancing may be needed in some areas and that the UK could continue to see hundreds of daily deaths for weeks.

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