Manchester’s Covid-19 infection rate rises 15-fold ahead of ‘winter of discontent’

Manchester’s Covid-19 infection rate rises 15-fold ahead of ‘winter of discontent’

 

Manchester has the highest infection rate of any area in England after it rose 15-fold since the local lockdown was introduced.

The infection rate has risen to 495.6 per 100,000 people, which is a significant rise from 20 per 100,000 the city had at the end of July.

The updated statistics show Covid-19 is spreading faster in Manchester than in nearly any other area with the number of positive tests doubling week-on-week, Manchester Evening News reports.

There were 2,740 cases in Manchester in the week ending October 1st, which was 1,506 more than in the previous week – an increase of 122 per cent.

On Sunday, a total of 3,019 new cases were reported by Public Health England across Greater Manchester as hundreds of backdated cases were added to the daily update.

It comes as the north of England is facing “one of the most difficult winters ever”, the Mayor of Manchester has warned.

Reports suggest a three-tier lockdown system could be introduced in England to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The system is aimed at improving people’s compliance with the rules, the Guardian said.

The documents say many Brits do not have a clear understanding of the rules that apply to them.

The levels are intended to be ‘minimum standards’ and specific local circumstances would also be taken into account, the newspaper continued, citing a government source.

No social contact with anyone outside your household in any setting; hospitality and leisure businesses closed; amateur sports and hobbies banned.

No social contact in private homes or gardens outside your bubbles; avoid visiting care homes; only make essential journeys.

‘Rule of six’ for gatherings; wear face masks in shops and pubs and on transport; 10pm curfew on hospitality; 15 people at weddings, 30 at funerals.

Mayor of the area Andy Burnham offered support to the system if it gives local leaders a say on how it would work.

The draft ‘Covid-19 Proposed Social Distancing Framework’ plan is designed to simplify the existing localised restrictions.

The plans have not yet been finalised and signed off by No.10 officials, however, and several of the measures could still be relaxed, according to the newspaper.

Schools are not mentioned in the draft, though visiting care homes could only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Responding to the potential system, Mr Burnham said he believes ‘the new approach could improve public understanding of the restrictions in different areas.’

He said: “Without urgent change, the North of England will be thrown into one of the most difficult winters we have ever experienced, with the risk of significant harm to health and our economy. It’s that serious.

“We are heading into the winter months with a Test and Trace system which is still not working and the risk of redundancies rising sharply as the furlough scheme comes to an end. Without extra support for individuals, business and councils, it could be a winter of dangerous discontent.

“I remain ready to work with the Government to build public support for its approach to local lockdowns, but that requires meaningful consultation and proper support for the areas affected. That is not happening at the moment.

“We have now reached a point where there is a real risk of the Government losing the public in the North because of the perceived unfairness of its local lockdown policies. We can’t let that happen. There is still time to put in place better measures to protect communities across the North this winter but time is running out.”

It comes as 503,000 cases of the disease have reached Britain, with record daily increases over much of the last fortnight which have if anything been under reported due to a ‘counting error’ by Public Health England.

In an interview on Sunday,  Boris Johnson  denied a suggestion that the local restrictions were not working given infection rates were still rising in the affected areas and there was no end in sight to the measures.

Downing Street had last week announced a tightening of restrictions on socialising in northeast England, in response to high and increasing Covid-19 infection rates in the region – the latest in a series of local measures.

There are currently 50 different areas of England with overlapping restrictions, some legal and some guidance, and even the Prime Minister himself was unable to explain them last week.

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