“We are now looking at probably the most difficult winter we have ever known in this country… and we are not where we need to be.” said Andy Burnham during this afternoon’s Greater Manchester Coronavirus press conference.
Joined by Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, they jointly called again for a joint forum between national and local leaders in dealing with a local situation.”It feels as though all the decisions are being made in locked rooms in Whitehall said Greater Manchester’s Mayor.
Covering varying topics, the Mayor claimed that Covid would be seen as having done more damage to the economy of the North than Mrs Thatcher in the 1980’s and said that places such as Bolton had been forgotten.
“How can you justify pubs being shut in Bolton when there are places with higher infection rates where they are still open
He again attacked the 10pm curfew saying that it led to more inter house mingling last weekend than throughout the rest of the pandemic.The pubs are more regulated now than they have ever been said the Metro Mayor of Liverpool who suggested that restaurants should be allowed to stay open later so that there was a more staggered journey home.
Saying that we are looking at the most difficult winter that we have ever faced says, Andy Burnham said that we are not anywhere near where we should be in terms of Track and Trace and economic help in the region to prepare for it.
The Mayor said that he was not in favour of the so called circuit break at a local level and although the time was not right at the moment, he could see the case for a national circuit break.
“Focus on the problem that is household transmission” he added.
A final decision expected imminently on Merseyside after the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said it was “only a matter of days” until a more severe lockdown was imposed in line with the rest of the North East.
Later this afternoon The Prime Minister will lead a Covid-19 briefing later after the UK recorded the highest number of daily coronavirus cases since the outbreak began.
Boris Johnson will be joined at a Downing Street press conference by Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
Meanwhile the Business Secretary Alok Sharma is being widely criticised by journalists for suggesting that it is unfair for broadcasters to ask ministers to explain details of coronavirus restrictions after the incident yesterday when the Prime Minister failed to clarify the new restrictions that were coming into the North East.
Four more North Wales local authority areas – Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham – will go into lockdown from 6pm on Thursday it has been announced.