A holidaymaker who did not self-isolate after returning to Bolton in northerwest England was partly responsible for the area's "extreme spike" in coronavirus cases, the council leader has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, 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 guidance.

The Conservative councillor said: "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.

"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."

Earlier this month a 23-year-old man from Bolton was fined £1,000 for failing to self-isolate after returning from a holiday in Ibiza and hosting a house party.

It is not known whether the individual mentioned by Mr Greenhalgh was fined for breaching regulations.

Leaders in Bolton had been arguing for restrictions, placed on all of Greater Manchester, to be lifted at the end of August before the area saw a spike which led to it having the highest rates of the virus in the country.

It is now subject to tougher measures than the rest of England, with hospitality venues only allowed to operate as takeaways and ordered to shut by 10pm.

Johnson urged to act 'sooner rather than later' to curb Covid surge

Meanwhile UK ministers have been warned that they need to act "sooner rather than later" if they are to prevent a new surge in coronavirus cases leading to more deaths.

Professor Neil Ferguson - whose modelling led the Government to order the lockdown in March - said the UK was facing a "perfect storm" following the easing of controls over the summer.

His warning came as Boris Johnson was spending the weekend in Downing Street considering new restrictions across England as the latest figures showed new infections doubling every week.

Ministers are thought to be looking at a temporary two-week "circuit break" in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.

The move could see pubs and restaurants ordered to close or face a 10pm curfew while socialising between households could be banned.

Prof Ferguson said the Government needed to move swiftly rather than wait until the October half-term break as some reports have suggested it is considering.

"Right now we are at about the levels of infection we were seeing in this country in late February," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"If we leave it another two to four weeks we will be back at levels we were seeing more like mid March. That's clearly going to cause deaths because people will be hospitalised.

"I think some additional measures are likely to be needed sooner rather than later."

He added: "We have in some sense a perfect storm right now of people, as they have been told to, getting back to normal, schools reopening, a surge in cases, so therefore the testing system is under strain.

"So unfortunately we do have to roll the relaxation of measures back a little bit and get contacts down in the population."

Labour meanwhile has joined the Scottish and Welsh governments in calling on the Prime Minister to summon a meeting of the Government's Cobra civil contingencies committee - which has not met since May - to consider the worsening situation.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner told the Today programme: "He has to look at the science and the evidence and he has to make sure the measures are in place and a clear communications strategy on that so people can do the right thing.

"It has been absolutely shocking to see how monumentally they have failed at the testing, tracing, tracking system that they put in place." 

Scuffles in Trafalgar Square at protest against lockdown measures

Scuffles have broken out between demonstrators and police at a rally in Trafalgar Square organised by opponents of coronavirus lockdown measures.

Metropolitan Police officers moved in on the protesters as they congregated near Nelson's column today.

The protesters formed human blockades opposite the officers to stop them from making arrests.

Scuffles broke out between the two sides next to the National Gallery, before officers were pushed back by the loud crowd, who began cheering and chanting.

The 'Resist And Act For Freedom' rally saw scores of people gather holding banners and chanting "freedom".

Organisers sold t-shirts bearing 5G conspiracy theories and advocating the legalisation of cannabis as a range of speeches were made to the crowd.

One protester held a banner calling for the UK government's Sage scientific advisers to be sacked, while another's declared Covid-19 a "hoax".

Addressing the crowd to huge cheers, organiser Kate Shemirani said: "We are the resistance."