People are being warned they must self-isolate for 10 days if they are visiting from a Tier 4 coronavirus area.
Public health officials in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester are urging anyone visiting from a Tier 4 area such as London, Wales or the southeast of England to self-isolate, even though travelling from the highest tier is against lockdown restrictions.
Videos shared on social media showed hordes of people cram into train stations and block the motorways trying to escape before the restrictions kicked in as London and most of the home counties were placed into a new, stricter tier.
It prompted fears the more infectious Covid-19 strain that caused the relaxation of restrictions over Christmas to be scrapped would spread across the country.
Director of public health for the Lancashire authority of Blackburn with Darwen, Dominic Harrison, said anyone who had travelled from a Tier 4 area since last Wednesday should isolate for at least five days.
Council leaders in the West Midlands said anyone coming from London or Wales should "assume they have the new variant of Covid" and act accordingly.
The region's directors of public health said people should continue to self-isolate even if they have had a negative test.
Anyone travelling to Greater Manchester from a Tier 4 area has been asked to quarantine for at least 10 days.
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These policies are said to be strong advice and officials are understood to have no powers to enforce it.
Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, director of public health in Tameside, East Manchester, said: "The new strain of Covid, which is increasing rapidly in tier 4 areas, is extremely worrying.
"It is incredibly infectious and if you come into contact with someone with this strain, you are far more likely to catch it than the original strain.
"We are so concerned about the potentially grave impact of this that we have taken the difficult decision to ask anyone who has travelled here for Christmas from any tier 4 area or Wales to act as if they have this new variant, even if they have no symptoms, and self-isolate for at least 10 days."
In Liverpool, where a mass Covid-19 testing pilot has been carried out, anyone who has travelled from Tier 4 is being urged to take a test.
The government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance repeated the official advice to keep Christmas "local".
He said: "The message has been very clear, and I think I want to reinforce it – it is 'stay local'."
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