Major incident declared in Greater Manchester after spike in Covid-19 cases
Leader of Manchester City Council Richard Leese said people ‘should not be alarmed that a major incident has been declared’. (Image: PA)
A major incident has been declared in Greater Manchester following a rise in coronavirus infection rates.
The move, previously used in the event of terror attacks and natural disasters, means the region can call on extra national resources if necessary.
It comes after a series of meetings between police and local leaders in Greater Manchester over the weekend in the wake of the Government’s decision to reimpose some lockdown measures in parts of northern England.
The Manchester Evening News reports that Covid-19 infection rates continued to climb in areas including Oldham, Trafford, Manchester, Salford, Bolton and Wigan into the end of last week.
Infection rates for the week to July 29, obtained by the paper, show cases per 100,000 people rising in every area apart from Rochdale.
Leader of Manchester City Council Richard Leese said: "People should not be alarmed that a major incident has been declared. This is standard practice for complex situations which require a multi-agency response.
"Although the council and partner organisations have been working closely to tackle the impacts of the pandemic since early this year, declaring a major incident means we can ramp this up further.
"It allows the establishment of a central command structure to oversee the response and enables agencies involved to draw on extra resources."
Ministers last week moved to ban separate households from meeting indoors in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire amid concern about a rise in cases.
But the Government is being urged to go further, with Labour mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham calling on ministers to cancel the ending of the shielding programme aimed at protecting people deemed ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ to the virus.
Ending the programme means those who were shielding from the virus will no longer receive free food parcels and medicine deliveries from the National Shielding Service. They are instead being advised to turn to voluntary support groups.
Mr Burnham 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.”
Current nationwide advice in England is that people who were shielding during the peak of the pandemic “do not need to shield at the moment”.
“This is because the rates of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community have fallen significantly,” the new guidance says.