Local lockdown restrictions are expected to be lifted in parts of Lancashire and Greater Manchester when the health secretary announces a review into coronavirus rates on Friday.
Areas in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Leicester, Luton and Northampton are currently subject to enhanced measures due to a rise in cases.
According to public health officials in Lancashire, restrictions on mixing between different households in Burnley and Hyndburn will be lifted from next Wednesday in line with the rest of England.
Lancashire’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, said: “People living in Burnley and Hyndburn will be pleased that government has lifted the additional restrictions in their areas, but this should not lead to complacency.
“In both Burnley and Hyndburn infection rates are significantly above the national average with an increasing rate in Hyndburn.”
In Trafford, the Labour council leader, Andrew Western, said the area would be released from the measures affecting Greater Manchester next week.
The council’s Labour group criticised the government’s decision, saying that while it wanted “restrictions lifted as soon as possible guided by the data and when it is safe to do so”, the council had asked for restrictions to remain in place for at least another week “in the interests of public safety”.
The borough’s coronavirus infection rate, which has increased slightly in recent days to 21.1 per 100,000 people, is almost twice the national average of 11.7, it added.
“It is apparent that for all of their claims of working in collaboration with local authorities, the government has decided to overrule the council and lift restrictions in Trafford,” Western said.
“This action by government makes a mockery of the claims of locally led decision-making and once again shows that local government is being ignored in spite of being on the frontline of this crisis.”
Stockport in Greater Manchester will also be released from additional lockdown measures, according to the MP for Denton and Reddish, Andrew Gwynne.
Changes to the restrictions are due to be announced by Matt Hancock on Friday afternoon after a meeting with the joint biosecurity centre on Thursday.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Friday show north-west England had the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in July, although figures across all regions have fallen since June.
Last month, there were 2.8 coronavirus-related deaths per 100,000 of the population in the north-west, down from 9.2 in June, when the area also had the highest regional mortality rate.