RISING cases of corornavirus have taken has taken Oldham past Leicester into second place for the Covid-19 infection rate, according to official data.

NHS statistics today reveal the town recorded 54.3 cases of the virus for every 100,000 people between July 20 and 26.

The weekly infection rate for Oldham has gone up 191 per cent. Meanwhile, Leicester's rate has fallen to 53.2.

Only Blackburn with Darwen is worse than Oldham, recording 85.9 cases per 100,000 in the past week.

Two thirds of new Covid-19 cases in Oldham are among Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, Oldham Council has said.

Related stories: People will not be moved out of crowded homes to self-isolate

Oldham residents urged to stick to tough restrictions to avoid local coronavirus lockdown as infection rate soars

The town hall and health chiefs are appealing to residents locals to abide by tough restrictions implemented yesterday to prevent an all-out local lockdown.

They have urged the borough's 235,000 residents to not let any visitors into their home for at least two weeks.

This is in total contrast the rest of England, after lockdown rules were relaxed earlier this month to let people to stay overnight with loved ones.

Oldham people are also being asked to keep two metres apart from friends and family when seeing them outside.

Current government advice for the rest of the nation recommends a one metre-plus rule — but people should keep two metres apart where possible.

The new guidelines would be "particularly tough" for the Muslim community who were preparing to celebrate Eid on Friday. Katrina Stephens, the director of public health in Oldham, said the spike was not due to more testing but a "genuine increase" in transmission.

The central and western districts have mostly been affected, and there are "increasingly" cases in the younger population, particularly among 20 to 40-year-olds, Ms Stephens said at a media briefing yesterday.

A significant proportion of recent cases involve multiple individuals testing positive within a household.

Cllr Arooj Shah confirmed they had seen a rise in cases among Oldham's Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, which account for up to two thirds of overall new cases, New Post Leader reported.

Around 20 per cent of Oldham's population are from Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage, compared to the 2.8 per cent average in England and Wales.

Cllr Shah said: "We haven't got any concerns about people not adhering to guidelines around Eid. I have to stress this isn't anything to do with behavioural issues."

Religious leaders have reportedly been given "robust" measures in place to support people with the latest advice.

"There are no concerns around enforcement and we haven't had a need for that so far, that's not the approach we're trying to use," Cllr Shah said.