Manchester lockdown: Major coronavirus incident declared in city as mayor urges Govt to reinstate shielding measures

A MAJOR incident has tonight been declared in Greater Manchester after coronavirus infection rates continue to rise – as mayor Andy Burnham calls for a return to shielding.

Calls for vulnerable Brits to shield ended in July – but virus infection rates across the country are continuing to rise, with noteable spikes in Manchester and Tameside, as well as a sustained rise in Oldham.

Now it's feared the Army could be drafted in to support police in Manchester if necessary.

It comes days after a quickfire new lockdown was announced for 4.5million people living in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Residents have been banned from meeting indoors.

Despite the new measures, the Manchester Evening News reports that senior figures from the police, local councils and other agencies have joined 'gold command meetings' over the weekend.

There are concerns that despite stricter local lockdown laws, new infections are still rising dramatically.

Infection rates for the week to Thursday – when the new measures were introduced – show cases per 100,000 people still rising in every part of the conurbation.

Those in Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days, while Oldham's remain the highest and the fastest-growing.

Provisional figures for the week to Friday, which will be revised by Public Health England in the coming 24 hours, suggest that trend then continued upwards.

The major incident declared tonight means the region can access extra national resources – such as the army – if it becomes necessary.

Greater Manchester mayor Mr Burham has called for the Government to re-introduce shielding measures, which came to an end in England on July 31.

In a tweet tonight, he said: "I listened to the Government when they came to me late on Thursday and asked for our support for new restrictions.

"I am now asking them to listen to us: please reinstate the shielding policy in Greater Manchester from first thing tomorrow.

"Failure to do so is wrong and inhumane."

The new measures could change the way stricter lockdown laws are enforced.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier this week he was introducing the clampdown for 4.5million people with a “heavy heart” – but had been "chilled" by soaring infection rates in northern England.

And he said the spread in nine areas – including the cities of Manchester and Bradford – was “largely due to households meeting and not abiding by social distancing rules”.

The laws mean different households are now outlawed from meeting in private gardens or indoors, including homes, pubs and restaurants.

However, Brits can still meet in pub gardens.

There was widespread confusion over the new restrictions after they were announced.

Last night, it was reported that millions of over 50s could be told to stay at home under "nuclear" plans to avoid another national lockdown.

Boris Johnson has asked his team to prepare a series of measures that could help avoid shutting the country down again.

Today, the UK's death toll hit 46,201 after another eight people died with coronavirus – the lowest 24-hour rise since March.

However, the number of people who have tested positive for the virus rose by another 744.

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