Coronavirus live news: calls for clarity on travel restrictions in England; US advises against travel to Japan

According to the guidance, which appears to have been updated on 21 May and is not law, journeys to and from the affected areas – Bedford, Blackburn and Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow, and North Tyneside – should be avoided “unless essential”. Exemptions include travel for work, where working from home is not possible, and education.

The Guardian understands that the Cabinet Office guidance for Bolton was updated online on 14 May, and other areas were subsequently added. A source said the “layout of the guidance was adjusted” on Friday, hence the date mark which suggested it had been published on 21 May. However, archived webpages suggest many areas were only added to the guidance on that date.

The update did not seem to have been accompanied by an official announcement and it is also understood that local leaders and public health directors were unaware of it.