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Government release statement on why Greater Manchester is going to Tier 3

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It was confirmed earlier today that Greater Manchester will be heading into Tier 3 when lockdown ends next week.

From next Wednesday, December 2nd, the whole region will be placed in the strictest tier, despite our infection rate reducing faster than any other part of the country.

So why is Greater Manchester being placed into Tier 3?

David Dixon / Geograph

This morning, as part of the announcement on which area will be placed in which tier, the government published a written ministerial statement.

These outline the rationale for why each region in England has been placed in the tier they’re in, including why the whole of Greater Manchester is in Tier 3.

The government said: “While there has been continued improvement in Greater Manchester, weekly case rates remain very high, especially amongst those aged over 60, at around 260 per 100,000 people.

“The pressure on the local NHS is decreasing in some areas but remains a concern; Manchester University hospital and Pennine Acute Trust remain under significant pressure.”

Earlier today Andy Burnham responded to the news that Greater Manchester is heading to Tier 3, saying that cities in the North will be ‘levelled down’ by the new tier system and that it is ‘the opposite of what the government has promised to do’.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester also said that he will be asking for the region to be moved into Tier 2 in a few weeks time if rates continue to fall like they have been.

According to Matt Hancock, there are five indicators for making a decision on which tier a region is in:

  • case rates in all age groups
  • cases in over 60s
  • rate at which cases are rising or falling
  • positivity rate
  • local pressures on NHS

The tiers are set to be reviewed on Wednesday December 16th, so there is still a chance Greater Manchester could be in Tier 2 in the run up to Christmas.

The new rules across all tiers include:

  • Uniform set of rules, there will be no negotiations by different regions
  • Everyone should work from home if they can
  • Shops and personal care services can open
  • Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities remain open
  • Registered childcare, other supervised activities for children and childcare bubbles allowed
  • Indoor leisure – gyms and swimming – can open
  • Elite sport, under-18 sport and disabled sport can continue
  • Police will get new powers to close down premises breaking the rules

What Greater Manchester can expect in Tier 3:

  • No mixing of households indoors or most outdoor places – rule of six in outdoor spaces such as parks and sports courts
  • Hospitality venues closed, except for takeaway, drive-through or delivery
  • Indoor entertainment venues closed
  • Avoid travelling outside the area other than where necessary
  • No overnight stays outside local area, unless necessary for work, education or similar reasons
  • Accommodation closed (with limited exceptions such as work purposes)
  • Places of worship open but people cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can have 15 guests – but no wedding receptions allowed
  • Funerals can have 30 guests
  • Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but avoid higher-risk contact activity
  • Group exercise and sports indoors should not take place, unless with household/bubble
  • Elite sporting events, live performances and large business events banned but drive-in events permitted.

Tier 1 Rules:

  • Households can mix inside and outside, but the rule of six applies
  • Bars, pubs and restaurants must be table service only, last orders at 10pm, closing by 11pm
  • Entertainment can reopen
  • Avoid travel into Tier 3 areas
  • Overnight stays permitted with your household/bubble, or up to six people from different households
  • All accommodation can reopen
  • Places of worship can reopen but more than six people from different households cannot interact
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can have 15 guests
  • Funerals can have 30 guests
  • Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but rule of six indoors
  • Elite sporting events, live performances and large business events can take place with 50% capacity, or 4,000 people outdoors/1,000 indoors (whichever is lower) – social distancing applies

Tier 2 Rules:

  • No mixing of households indoors apart from support bubbles – rule of six outdoors
  • Pubs and bars must close unless operating as restaurants, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • Last orders at 10pm, close by 11pm
  • Reduce the numbers of journeys made and avoid travel into Tier 3 areas
  • Overnight stays permitted with your household or support bubble
  • Accommodation open
  • Places of worship open but people cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can have 15 guests
  • Funerals can have 30 guests
  • Exercise classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but not indoors if there is any interaction between different households
  • Elite sporting events, live performances and large business events can take place with 50% capacity, or 2,000 people outdoors/1,000 indoors (whichever is lower) – social distancing applies

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Teacher dies on her 25th birthday after contracting coronavirus

‘Claudia was very special, kind, caring and a dedicated teacher’

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Tina Marsh / Just Giving

Recently-qualified teacher Claudia Marsh died with coronavirus on her 25th birthday.

Claudia’s death has been described as ‘sudden and unexpected’ by the charity that helped her recover from an eating disorder a few years ago.

She had gone on to volunteer at the organisation, becoming a ‘beacon of hope’ for others. 

Her mother, Tina Marsh, said she was ‘very proud’ and ‘blown away’ by the number of tributes after Claudia died at Liverpool’s Royal University Hospital on Wednesday.

Posting on Facebook, Ms Marsh said Claudia was a ‘beautiful daughter and incredible sister’ who was selfless with her work at the Merseyside-based charities, Talking Eating Disorders (TEDS) and The Whitechapel Centre.

Her mother said: “She loved giving back to people less fortunate than herself.”

Founder of TEDS and family friend Leigh Best described the death as ‘heartbreaking’, adding: “Claudia was very special, kind, caring and a dedicated teacher.

“She supported countless families across the UK. Claudia made her own little packs to give out to others with eating disorders with positive affirmations.

“She was full of positivity, kindness and hope, and had a smile that would brighten up the whole room.”

The Whitechapel Centre also released a statement where they said staff were ‘devastated’, adding she would leave behind a ‘legacy of care, dedication and enthusiasm’.

Throughout the pandemic Claudia spent her time providing food and clothing to those who need it, the centre said, adding: “Claudia always put others before herself and her memory will live on through the impact and contribution she made to our organisation.

“She was instrumental in bringing together our volunteer community.”

Her mother has set up an online fundraising page for the two charities which has already raised £16,495.

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Opening schools is a national priority, government says

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Schools Minister, Nick Gibb told the commons that schools in England will be reopen ‘as soon as possible’. 

Responding to an urgent question brought by Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green, Mr Gibb said the government would ‘prioritise the reopening of schools as we begin the process of lifting lockdown restrictions’.

Ms Green went onto say that the government had ‘failed  to give parents, children and staff the credible plan they deserve’.

Adding: “We simply don’t know what the government’s plan is for school reopening – other than what we read in the newspapers,”

Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

“In recent days, we’ve had reports that the prime minister wants pupils back before Easter, the health secretary saying he wants pupils back after Easter, Public Health England saying overnight the primary schools are already safe to reopen – so which is it?

“What is the plan for full reopening? The schools minister mentioned some metrics but was vague about the required performance against them – can he give us some more clarity?”

Mr Gibb said it was the government’s ‘strong desire to reopen all schools, colleges and universities as soon as possible’.

“We are acutely aware of the damage to children’s education and development – particularly to the most disadvantaged pupils by being away from school and of the increased burdens placed on parents.

He added that the ‘government has been clear that education is a national priority’ throughout the pandemic.

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“We had worked hard to keep all schools, colleges and universities fully open but scientific advice we received in January meant we had no choice but to close schools and colleges to all but vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.

“And to restrict in-person teaching in university to those studying to be future critical workers.” He said. 

He added that there will be an announcement in the next few days as remote learning is no substitute for face-to-face learning. 

“We want to give two weeks’ notice so parents can make arrangement for the care of their children and we will be making announcements in the next few days.” He said.

Chairman of the education select committee, Robert Halfon, told Mr Gibb that parents and children were suffering.

“We need to get our schools open again sooner rather than later,” he said.

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All of Manchester’s care home residents have now received first vaccine dose

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All residents of Manchester’s care homes have received at least one dose of their Covid-19 vaccination.

Among the first people to be prioritised for the vaccine rollout, the residents of the city’s 56 care homes for older people have now all received at least their first dose of the vaccine. 

Carolyn Ball, general manager of Belong Morris Feinmann Care Village in Didsbury, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our residents have had this opportunity to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. This is the additional protection we have long been waiting for and it’s great to be starting the new year knowing that our residents are at reduced risk.

“The commitment of the NHS in Manchester to rolling the programme out promptly, and the team from gtd healthcare delivering it in our care setting in spite of the complex logistics, is really impressive. We’re so grateful as their well-organised approach meant our residents and colleagues were amongst the first in the UK to receive the vaccine.”

Manchester City Council’s executive member for adult health and wellbeing, Councillor Bev Craig said she was ‘so proud’ of the work gone into protection the most vulnerable people in the region. 

She added: “We are already also seeing a really encouraging take up of the vaccine amongst care home staff, we cannot stress how important this is and we’d urge any staff member who is still unsure to talk to their colleagues who have already had it so they can see how easy and safe the process has been.

“They can book an appointment through their home managers and we really want to encourage them to take this opportunity as soon as possible.”

 
Georg Arthur Pflueger / Unsplash

Across the country, 6.5 million people have been vaccinated so far with around 80% over over 80s in England. 

Manchester’s care home residents can expect their second jab (if they haven’t already received it) no later than 12 weeks after their initial dose under the current scheduling.

This comes after the government changed the course of the rollout from two weeks after the first dose to six weeks to vaccinate more vulnerable people.

Chief medical officer, Chris Whitty described the change as ‘simple maths’ adding: “…if a vaccine is more than 50% effective, if you double the number of people who are vaccinated over this very risky period when there is a lot of virus circulating, you are overall going to get some substantial benefit.”

He said: “I think most people would agree that the risk that was identified was a relatively much smaller risk than the risk of not having people vaccinated, which essentially was the alternative.”

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