Oldham could be 48 hours away from possibly being sentenced by ministers to a "catastrophic" Leicester-style lockdown, the council chairman said.
The government is expected to decide tomorrow whether to order the closure of bars, restaurants and gyms in the city of Greater Manchester. Matt Hancock didn't rule out a local lockdown for Oldham today.
Sean Fielding, Oldham's council chairman, has warned that the rush for a lockdown would destroy the city's already crippled economy.
In an interview with The Guardian, he suggested that Oldham would be difficult to isolate from other towns in Manchester and neighboring West Yorkshire, and predicted that an "early" move in the lockdown would not be based on evidence.
"The economic impact of a local lockdown on Oldham would be catastrophic and we are keen to avoid it," he told the newspaper.
“We do everything in our power, and there are some early indications that will affect the rate of infection. But we need more time to see if that really worked. I think moving to a local lock would be really premature. & # 39;
He argued that household transmission causes infection in Oldham, most cases are of working age, and there is little increase in hospital admissions or deaths.
Mr Fielding's intervention comes just days after Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham urged ministers not to adopt "knee-jerk measures" as coronavirus cases continue to rise in some parts of the Northwest.
Cases are also increasing in dozen of counties across England, including Swindon, Northampton, and the Nottinghamshire county of Newark and Sherwood.
Another day of the coronavirus crisis:
- Another 1,089 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the UK, meaning the rolling average number of daily infections has decreased for the third day in a row.
- Leicester is being partially pulled out of its local coronavirus lockdown, with nail bars, outdoor pools and beauty salons allowed to reopen from tomorrow.
- Herd immunity may be closer than scientists initially thought, and it is possible that only 10 percent of people need to be infected for the virus to fail.
- Almost three quarters of people infected with coronavirus have no symptoms the day they are tested for the disease.
- According to an office for national statistics, Asians catch Covid up to five times more often than whites.
The government will decide whether to order the closure of the city of Greater Manchester's bars, restaurants and gyms on Thursday. Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Preston are closed
Oldham is 48 hours away from potentially "catastrophic" and "premature" local lockdown, the council chairman said (Image: a walk-in Covid test site).
The government is expected to decide on Thursday whether to order the closure of bars, restaurants and gyms in the city of Greater Manchester (Image: Metrolink Tram in Oldham Central).
Sean Fielding, Oldham's council chairman, has warned that relapsing into a total coronavirus lockdown would destroy the city's weak economy
Oldham officials have written to ministers in a desperate attempt to prevent a complete lockdown by tightening local restrictions, such as: B. the ban on the gathering of households and the increased enforcement measures of the police and health authorities.
The city, along with the nine other boroughs of Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, was subject to severe restrictions in late July.
But Oldham, home to 235,000 people, currently has the worst infection rate in England. According to official statistics, the number of new cases per 100,000 people has doubled to 107.5 per week in the last seven days.
The city is currently covered by restrictions imposed by Matt Hancock on July 31st. This includes prohibitions on people visiting family and friends.
WHAT ARE THE RULES IN OLDHAM?
The people of Oldham are now reminded by the council:
- Limit the number of people you come into contact with and work from home whenever possible
- Do not have visitors in your house or garden
- If you need to meet people from outside your household, do so in an outdoor location to maintain social distance and avoid physical contact
- When visiting stores and using public transport or other enclosed or crowded spaces, a mask should be worn
- Do not touch your face and wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds
According to Oldham Council chiefs, 255 new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the week leading up to August 8, compared with 137 cases the week before.
Mr Fielding said closing bars, restaurants and shops would not make a "measurable difference" to the spread of Covid in Oldham.
He suggested the vast majority of the new cases spread between households, suggesting that any government order to be completely banned would be political.
Mr Fielding also claimed that it was very difficult to quarantine Oldham from the area as the city was "fully and completely connected".
"I don't think there would be science or evidence if we were put on a local lockdown," he told The Guardian.
And he told BBC News: “We already have youth unemployment at 9.5 percent and 15 percent of the unemployment rate in general, so it would be really, really catastrophic for businesses and the working-age population in Oldham if there were a local lockdown would.
& # 39; It's different from Leicester because Leicester has never really reopened properly. These could be hundreds of companies that got themselves Covid safe, spent money on it, reopened, traded briefly, asked to close, and chances are those who did all of that just couldn't reopen when restrictions are lifted again. & # 39;
Mr Hancock told the BBC: “In places like Oldham, where cases are now increasing, we need to take the same localized approach, work very closely with the local council, and make sure we get the messages to the public as well as the Public are bringing the governing rules and resources, as well as testing resources, under control in any area where an outbreak occurs, including Oldham. & # 39;
meanwhile Birmingham's public health director said the city could be placed on the "watch list" for areas most at risk of intervention in a matter of days.
Dr. Justin Varney said Covid cases in Birmingham stood at 28 per 100,000 people, up from 15 cases per 100,000 on July 25.
However, local MPs are appalled at the prospect of closing Britain's second largest city. Liam Byrne of Labor describes the move as a "total nightmare".
ARE THE CASES REALLY ON THE WAY IN MANCHESTER?
107.4 (plus 53%)
42.7 (plus 25%)
37.6 (minus 19%)
36.9 (plus 4%)
34.2 (plus 7%)
29.1 (minus 4%)
26.4 (no change)
25.6 (minus 3%)
25.0 (minus 8%)
7.7 (no change)
Infection rate: New cases per week per 100,000 people. Dates from August 4th to 10th
"If we can do precision locks it will make everyone's life easier, but that means the government needs to put in place a track and trace system that is functional and that people trust," added Birmingham MP Hodge Hill .
Oldham's potential relapse into a Leicester-style lockdown this week comes after Andy Burnham advised the government not to "overreact".
Speaking at a weekly press conference last week, the Mayor of Manchester said: “What worked in Leicester is not necessarily going to be right for Greater Manchester given the interconnectedness of the metropolitan area, and I think we need to have a very considered approach to that and not harsh action that continue to split between different parishes and different districts.
“We need to be proportionate, focused, and focused on actions that will work.
"That is the crux of the letter we sent to the government today – no jerky action, but work with us to get all the interventions we get right and, obviously, to make them as effective as possible."
Leicester was the first to see local restrictions enforced to combat a surge in Covid cases now believed to be related to working conditions in clothing factories.
Schools and non-essential businesses were ordered to close and people could not meet in groups or go to other people's homes. The ban on household gatherings continues to apply to Leicester.
Mr Burnham (L) and Mr Richard Leese (R), pictured together on May 23, 2017 following the Manchester bombings, wrote a letter to Matt Hancock asking that there be no further easing of restrictions in Greater Manchester gives rest of England as planned for the US
Swindon has the highest infection rate in the south after a surge in cases
Swindon is battling a sudden surge in new cases – 43 in the past week.
Swindon has the fifth highest infection rate in England with 48.2 cases per 100,000, according to data from Public Health England for the week ending August 15.
It's on the list as a "problem area" – but a health department source said the city is in "danger zone," reports The Sun.
Council Chairs say the outbreak is under control in the city of Wiltshire, where the city of Wiltshire has become the hotspot of southern England.
It insisted that the outbreak is under control and that enforcement of lockdown measures would be a "last resort".
Robert Buckland, MP for Swindon South, said the council was "working tirelessly" to prevent an outbreak in the community as mobile test units emerged.
But new cases in the city have halved since last month. However, it still has the third worst infection rate in England (66.7) – which is up 26 percent in a week.
Numbers presented at the press conference showed that Oldham's infection rate was 108 per 100,000 people for the week ending August 8.
Oldham's infection rate is as high as it was at the height of the UK epidemic in April and has doubled since the week before (57.8).
For comparison, Leicester had 135 cases per 100,000 population when it was the first and only location in England to undergo a full local lockdown on June 30th.
Council figures show that most of the new cases diagnosed in the past four weeks were people in their twenties and thirties, with women in their twenties making up the majority.
The Oldham Council said that despite additional measures taken in the community two weeks ago, the number of positive cases has continued to increase.
It was said to have been in talks with the central government about a full lockdown that could take place in "days instead of weeks" if people fail to adhere to the measures.
Mr Burnham agreed that the numbers were a "major cause for concern" but wanted the city to be given an additional week to allow more time for the restrictions in place. "While the numbers have been worrying this week, we mustn't overreact either, but there is a risk that it will happen," he said, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Mr Burnham said a full lockdown could create "serious trouble" for people living in the area.
"You'd have to think about what a lockdown would mean for an area like Oldham on the Leicester model," he said.
"It could have a serious impact on businesses, it could have a serious impact on people's mental health."
“Why are our poorest communities being hit? It is due to the inability of many people in these places to self-isolate and this is a real void in our defenses and we are leaving poorer communities exposed to this virus if we do not address it. & # 39;
The council closes Blackburn restaurant, where police broke up a 100-person wedding reception that violated Covid's rules
A restaurant that was holding a 100-person wedding reception despite a local lockdown that banned large gatherings has been closed by the council.
Waheed's buffet and banquet hall in Blackburn, Lancashire, was convicted by police of "seriously breaching" lockdown restrictions after a wedding reception was reported on Sunday.
The restaurant has since allegedly closed for violating social distancing measures as officials found the venue full of people making the most of the government's "Eat Out To Help Out" program.
Sir Richard Leese, Chairman of Manchester City Council, said: "There is currently no evidence that additional lockdown measures would improve the chances of reducing the number of cases."
He added that Oldham officials "really improved" testing and tracing at the local level – rather than relying on the government system – and are now running around 1,000 tests a day.
The vast majority of those who tested overall positive for coronavirus in Greater Manchester were either asymptomatic or had hardly any symptoms, he said.
For the week ending August 8, the total infection rate for Greater Manchester is 35.3 – down from 28.6 the week before.
But Sir Richard said Oldham is the only part of Greater Manchester that has a "red rating" for its number of cases, suggesting it should be viewed as separate from the rest of the area.
He added that infection rates in Salford, Trafford and Wigan have decreased.
Even so, Sir Richard and Mr. Burnham said they had written to Mr. Hancock not to allow businesses such as casinos and ice rinks to reopen in Greater Manchester that weekend.
Mr Burnham said: “The first thing we said to the Minister of Health is that we don't think it would be right to see the further relaxation in relation to the opening of a number of additional business premises this weekend or this year that is near Future. & # 39;
The mayor said there would be targeted enforcement against pubs, restaurants and supermarkets that don't follow instructions.
He said the pub industry needs to "get serious" by collecting the names and addresses of customers in order for the testing and tracking system to work.
It comes days after an undercover Sky News investigation found nine out of ten Greater Manchester venues were not following instructions.
An undercover team visited a variety of eateries in a suburb and posed as walk-in customers. Most did not ask customers for their details to help the NHS track and trace system.
Mr Burnham previously warned that pubs in Greater Manchester will have to close if the contact tracing system is not improved.
According to the BBC, he said, "There is growing evidence that pubs are one of the main places this virus spreads."
Mr Burnham also said last night that he would write to major supermarkets to ask for a stricter approach to enforcement of wearing face coverings in stores.
The lockdown will be made easier in Leicester, as beauty salons and outdoor pools can reopen from tomorrow, but gatherings in private homes are STILL prohibited
By Mark Duell for MailOnline
Leicester is being partially pulled out of its local coronavirus lockdown. Nail bars, outdoor pools and beauty salons are allowed to reopen from tomorrow.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced today that after a drop in Covid-19 cases in the city, rules are being relaxed, although indoor gatherings are still banned.
As of tomorrow, tanning booths, massage parlors, spas, tattoo studios and piercing services for body and skin may be reopened in Leicester.
Music venues and outdoor theaters are already legally allowed to reopen in the city, but they are now also being removed from guidelines that recommended staying closed.
However, the government said infection rates remain too high to lift the local lockdown completely, so the restriction on indoor gatherings continues.
This keeps Leicester in line with the local lockdowns that have also been introduced in the northwest in parts of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire.
Mr Hancock said, “I would like to thank the people of Leicester who have all made sacrifices to keep the virus at bay and protect their local communities.
How will the lockdown in Leicester be relaxed?
The following stores can reopen from tomorrow:
- Outdoor pools
- Nail bars and salons
- Tanning booths and salons
- Spas and beauty salons
- Massage parlors
- Tattoo studios
- Body and skin piercing services
Recommendations that the following remain closed are removed:
- Outdoor theater
- Outdoor opera and music venues
The shield remains in place, but is loosened to include:
- If you want, a group of up to 6 people can meet outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing.
- You don't have to observe social distancing with other members of your household.
- If you are a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under the age of 18), you can create a “support bubble” with another household if you wish. Anyone in a support bubble can spend time together, even overnight, without having to distance themselves socially.
The current restrictions on gatherings remain in place. You must not:
- Meet people who you don't live with in a home or garden with unless you've formed a support bubble (or other exemptions made by law).
- Visit someone else's home or garden, even if they live outside the affected areas
& # 39; The infection rate is now down to safe levels so more businesses like beauty salons, nail bars, and some outdoor venues can reopen in the area. The current restrictions on gatherings must remain in place to further reduce the rate of infection.
“We need to stay vigilant, and I urge everyone in Leicester to continue to obey the rules – wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, take a free test as soon as you develop symptoms, and isolate when you do NHS Test and Trace tells you so. & # 39;
In Leicester, the screen remains in place, but people who do can now meet in a socially distant group outdoors with up to six people from different households.
Those who live in a single adult household that shields themselves can now join a “support bubble” in the city with another household.
In response to news that beauty salons in Leicester may reopen tomorrow, Minal Parmar, owner of the beauty refinery on London Road, said, “I'm very excited because we've been closed since March and we've obviously lost a lot of business across the board.
“I answered so many customer calls during the lockdown and can't wait to be open tomorrow. Fortunately, we have four treatment rooms so we can accommodate one client in each room.
“We also have PPE face masks – and we obviously always used the gloves. Everyone is financially affected – but I can't wait to be frank. & # 39;
The easing of restrictions, which took place in England on August 15, does not apply to Leicester, which has seven mobile test units and four test sites across the city.
Nationwide easements on August 15 included the opening of casinos, bowling alleys, ice rinks, exhibition halls and conference centers with instructions on restarting indoor theater and concert performances, as well as pilots for large crowds at sporting and business events, so that the remaining close contact services were resumed B. certain procedures in beauty salons, reopening of steam baths and saunas and enabling wedding receptions for up to 30 people.
The city will also not be able to resume close contact beauty services to resume or reopen steam rooms and saunas, or to allow wedding receptions for up to 30 people.
The Leicester restrictions were reviewed on Monday, bringing the city in line with the business relief introduced nationally on July 11th and 13th.
This card shows positive testing for Covid-19 by the Leicester Area for the fortnight ending August 7th
People are walking down Silver Street in Leicester on July 30th after it was locked on site
It comes as Mr Hancock announced that the government will be promoting controversial plans to get rid of Public Health England.
He founded the new National Institute for Health Protection, a new facility that will respond to health threats such as infectious diseases, pandemics and biological weapons.
The new organization, led by Tory peer Dido Harding, will start operating immediately, but it has been announced that it will be officially operational next spring to reduce disruption during the pandemic.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured today) announced that rules would be relaxed after a drop in Covid-19 cases in the city, although gatherings in private homes are still banned
It will merge the COVID response work of PHE, NHS Test and Trace and Joint Biosecurity Center in the "first step towards a single organization," said the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC).
The government has been criticized for the prospect of disbanding the PHE, which was founded in 2013 as part of conservative health reforms, amid a pandemic.
Ministers were also accused of using PHE as a "scapegoat" for other mistakes in the crisis.
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