Greater Manchester is at a crucial moment in its management of Covid-19 as lockdown continues to be eased and we learn to live with the new normality.
The local lockdown in Leicester has brought home how precarious easing the restrictions can be. Today, Leaders in Greater Manchester have published figures to help inform the public on what the local situation is to help them make an informed decision about how they go about their day-to-day lives and minimise the spread of the infection.
When Greater Manchester is compared to Leicester, in terms of the measures the Government has used to make lockdown decisions, Leaders are reassured that the city-region is not at risk at this point in time.
Leicester currently has a rate of 135 per 100,000 and rising while Greater Manchester is 13.3 and falling.
Across the ten boroughs Rochdale with 28.8,Oldham with 27.8, and Bolton with 21.6 are the highest, while Manchester is 15.2 while Wigan has just 4.0 and Trafford is 3.4
The figures show that thanks to most people sticking to the public health advice, more testing and people who are asked to self-isolate are doing so, and the hard work of the ten Councils and NHS to contain any outbreaks, the Greater Manchester figures continue to decline. However, some of our ten districts have higher infection numbers and rates than others, and compared to the North West and national they are still higher than they should be.
Councils and the NHS continue to monitor the real-time data updates extremely closely, and will continue to do so, particularly as we get to July 4 and beyond. Greater Manchester has access to more data than it’s have ever had, including the ‘pillar 2’ testing data, so it can increasingly see where local infections are and make sure they’re kept under control. Leaders are committed to publishing this data on a regular basis to help people make informed decisions about their local area.
An expert group has been established in Greater Manchester, including academics, clinicians and epidemiologists to help focus testing where it is most needed and particularly those who are at greatest risk from contracting Covid-19 for health reasons or the setting in which they live or work – care homes, schools, or certain factory settings. They will be making recommendations based on the latest evidence from Greater Manchester, national and international studies and experience.
The Greater Manchester plan has been published today too. It outlines all the different agencies involved at national, regional and local level as well as the structures put in place in Greater Manchester to prevent the spread of coronavirus, identify cases, trace those who have come into contact with the virus, manage outbreaks where they occur and how to support those affected by it. It provides a framework to support the local management plans.
Sir Richard Leese, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said:“The figures published today shows the situation in each of our districts and while the number of positive cases of Covid-19 is slightly higher in some Councils compared to others, we are closely monitoring and managing the situation. We don’t want anyone to be alarmed. Rather, the purpose of making this information public is to be open, honest and transparent with the public about what’s happening in their area so they can make an informed choice in their day-to-day lives. We’ve also been doing more testing compared to other parts of England and this will be reflected in our figures.
“I want to thank everyone in Greater Manchester for their efforts over the last few difficult months by sticking to the rules. We must keep going and not lose the hard won gains of reducing the number of cases.”
Professor Kate Ardern, Lead Director of Public Health for the GMCA for Health Protection and Emergency Planning & Response said: “Although we’re easing back into a new normality, the threat from coronavirus is still with us. That’s why we must continue to protect ourselves and save lives by following good hand hygiene practice, continue to physically distance and wear face coverings in confined public spaces. Every life lost in Greater Manchester is a tragedy and the Greater Manchester Covid-19 Management Plan to control outbreaks aims to limit the spread of the disease and keep us safe.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, added: “I’ve said for a while that the easing of lockdown has been too soon when we’re not out of the woods yet and we risk infection rates creeping up again. We’re doing our bit at city-region level to support the efforts of our ten Council as well as working with national Government to introduce measures to identify infections, manage infections and support those who have been infected. I know people here will be concerned at what they’re seeing in Leicester and businesses will be worried. I hope that by having local and a regional outbreak management plan will reassure the public that we have systems in place to prevent a local lockdown and provide clarity to all those involved in managing coronavirus as we learn to live with it.”