14 October 2020 22:35
A decision on whether Tier 3 lockdown restrictions should be imposed on Greater Manchester and Lancashire could be made tomorrow, Sky News understands. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said the government had not made him aware of the move. Mr Burnham has vowed to consider legal action if the strictest tier of coronavirus restrictions is imposed on the region. He said in an online news conference that if any such action was taken it would be "by imposition, not consent" and that he would "not cave into the pressure" by agreeing to the restrictions. Mr Burnham has been in meetings with the deputy chief medical officer today and has tweeted to say he is expecting another meeting with Boris Johnson's team in the morning.
Under the government's new rules, people living in Tier 3 areas would be banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, while bars and pubs would be closed unless they can operate as restaurants only. Geoff Driver, the Conservative leader of Lancashire County Council, said earlier it was "inevitable" his region would enter Tier 3. Manchester and Lancashire are facing tighter restrictions after Mr Johnson insisted he wanted to avoid the "misery" of another national lockdown. The prime minister has clashed with Sir Keir Starmer over the Labour leader's call for a short "circuit breaker" lockdown aimed at getting the virus back under control. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford set out plans to ban travel into the country from high-risk areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 6pm on Friday into the country from high-risk areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 6pm on Friday Nicola Sturgeon advised Scots against travelling to English coronavirus hotspots, singling out Blackpool as "associated with a large and growing number of COVID cases in Scotland" Pressure on the prime minister to take tougher action has intensified after Sir Keir backed the call from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) for a short national lockdown.
Pressure on the Prime Minister to take tougher action has intensified after Sir Keir backed the Government's scientific advisory panel Sage's call for a short national lockdown. In testy exchanges at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson accused him of opportunism and urged the Labour chief to put pressure on his party's local leaders in northern England to accept tighter restrictions under the new multi-tier system. Sir Keir's call for a lockdown has fractured the fragile consensus on the coronavirus response that existed at Westminster, and in the Commons he suggested the Prime Minister's failure to follow scientific advice had cost lives. The Labour leader said that since the Sage advice was given on September 21 "the infection rate has quadrupled, hospital admissions have gone from 275 a day to 628 a day in England, yesterday 441 Covid patients were on ventilators and the number of deaths recorded was – tragically – the highest since June 10". And he urged Sir Keir to "get on to his Labour friends in those parts of the north of England where we want to work with them to put those very stringent measures in place in order to deliver the reductions that the whole country wants to see".
The Prime Minister's new three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions for England came into effect on Wednesday, but the Liverpool City Region is the only area to be under the toughest rules. Leaders in Greater Manchester have said the region should not be put in Tier 3 of coronavirus measures, while in Lancashire the council chief has said the extra restrictions are "inevitable". The Liverpool City Region (LCR) is the only area of England to have been given the strictest set of measures so far, but Government health officials are expected to have discussions with councillors in Greater Manchester and Lancashire over whether to classify the areas as "very high". In a joint statement, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and the leaders of the 10 local authorities in the region insisted the area should remain in Tier 2 as the rate of infection and the hospital admission rate were lower than in the Liverpool City Region (LCR). But in Lancashire, county council leader Geoff Driver warned hospital admissions would reach the level they were at the height of the first wave within three weeks if measures were not brought in. The infection rate in the Liverpool City Region is 488 cases per 100,000 people, with 7,609 cases recorded in the seven days to October 10. In Greater Manchester the rate is 357.6 per 100,000, with 10,140 new cases reported, and in the county of Lancashire the rate is 310.7 per 100,000, with 4,689 cases recorded in the week up to October 10. Leaders in Greater Manchester said the evidence did not support placing the region into a higher tier. They said: "If the Government pursues its current strategy, we believe it will leave large parts of the north of England trapped in Tier 3 for much of the winter with all the damage that will do." He said: "With the high rates of infection in most parts of the county area it's inevitable we're going to move into Tier 3. He added: "If we don't take proper measures now, within three weeks the hospitals in Lancashire will be having the same admissions for Covid as they did at the height of the first wave. Property adviser Altus Group said 3,096 pubs and bars, 375 betting shops, 475 gyms and 15 casinos would close if Greater Manchester and Lancashire were subject to the stricter restrictions. A popular Cheshire hotel and spa has asked guests who live in 'Tier 3' areas to not stay or visit. This means residents from Halton will not be able to visit the hotel and spa as it has been placed under the new 'Tier 3' restrictions with the other five boroughs in the Liverpool City Region. A message on the hotel's website said that all guests must sign a declaration on arrival to say groups are from the same household or support bubble. It said: "All of our residents and spa guests will be asked to sign a declaration on arrival to confirm you are from the same household or support bubble. Halton and the rest of the Liverpool City Region have been placed under the "very high" risk alert in the Government's new three-tier system. "There are travel restrictions for the following Tier 3 areas: "Guests arriving from other countries like Wales or Scotland should also check their local restrictions regarding travel and not visit our estate if this is the government advice."