Johnson 'will need to intervene' in Greater Manchester if no Covid agreement

Brunilde Fioravanti
Ottobre 17, 2020

It comes as another 1.5 million people in England face being places under the toughest coronavirus restrictions this weekend as Lancashire moves into Tier 3.

Pubs and bars will close from 00:01am on Saturday and residents will only be allowed to socialise with people they live with or those in their social bubble in any indoor setting or private garden.

Newly affected areas under the new Tier 3 rule are Burnley, Darwin, Blackpool, Charlie, Field, Handburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Rebel Valley, Rosendale, South Rebel, West Lancashire and Wire Black.

Tier 2 rules, meaning households can not mix indoors or in pubs, cafes and restaurants, came into force across parts of northern and south east England.

Newly affected areas by the Tier 2 rule are London, Essex, Elambridge, Barrow-in-Furnace, North East Derbyshire, Irrawaddy, Chesterfield and York.

The rule changes at midnight on Friday came just hours after the prime minister pitted himself against the city of Manchester by promising to impose the highest level of restriction - with or without Mayor Andy Burnham's blessing.

Boris Johnson says the spread of coronavirus in Greater Manchester is "grave" and he may "need to intervene" if new measures are not agreed.

"In recent trends, there will be more Kavid patients in intensive care than just the peak of the first wave in just two weeks so I urge the mayor to reconsider and hire constructively".

But the prime minister told a Downing Street press conference: 'I can not stress enough: time is of the essence. And the number of people in hospital has risen sharply since last week.

He warned: "Of course, if agreement can not be reached I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester's hospitals and save the lives of Manchester's residents".

But on Friday the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told the same briefing "baseline" Tier 3 measures "almost certainly aren't enough" to get infection numbers down.

And when Sky News Deputy Political Editor Sam Coates was asked if people between Downing Street and Manchester leaders would die as a result of sarcasm, he said: "These are terribly hard decisions and there are casualties on both sides, as mentioned earlier".

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said on Twitter: 'Liverpool City Region has demanded immediate clarification on why Lancashire gyms are allowed to stay open and Liverpool's close.

In a joint statement, the regional mayor, Steve Rotherham, and six other local leaders added: "We simply will not accept our region being treated differently to other Tier 3 areas, without robust scientific evidence".

'These inconsistencies in restrictions between areas with in the same tier risk undermining the new system from the beginning'.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission for the whole of the United Kingdom is between 1.3 and 1.5.

This means that for every 10 people who have the virus, they will go on to infect between 13 and 15 others.

A total of 5,311 patients are now being treated for the virus in England, with 644 more admitted to Covid-19 hospital on Friday.

There were a further 15,650 new cases confirmed across the country - down from 18,980 on Thursday and 19,724 on Wednesday.

A total of one big jump was also thought to be infected in England - rising from an estimated 224,400 to 336,500 in one week.

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