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Greater Manchester will be placed in Tier 2 and avoid the toughest restrictions

BREAKING.

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JimfromOldham/Twitter

Jim McMahon, an MP from Oldham, has confirmed that Greater Manchester will be placed in Tier 2 of the new three-tier system. 

Taking to Twitter, Jim wrote: “Call with the Secretary of State confirms GM will be placed in Tier 2 with household restrictions on meeting indoors in any setting, but not outdoors.

“Pubs serving food remain open.

“Oldham will be removed from its enhanced lockdown measures and brought into line with GM *at last*”

The news comes from a very public opposition from politicians and local leaders in Greater Manchester.

MP for Manchester Central, Lucy Powell said loclal test and trace data suggested that just 9% of Covid infections in Manchester came from hospitality settings.

Adding: “The vast majority of infections here happen in households, which includes student halls of residence,”

Powell said last week: “Government and scientists still haven’t produced this evidence. The big problem for them is local leaders have all the same data (in fact better data for their areas) and they know hospitality settings make up a very small proportion of infection transmission.”

The new three-tiered system is set to be confirmed and outlined by Boris Johnson later today.

It is understood that Tier 2 will mean no indoor mixing of households, however, two households can mix in a private garden so long as the rule of six is following and social distancing can be maintained. 

The news largely means the current rules in place in Greater Manchester remain the same. Pubs and bars can remain open with the national curfew of 10pm remaining in place.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce a £28m funding package for those areas put into tier 3. It will include £14m for clinically vulnerable people and a further £14m to bolster local test and trace systems.

The trigger for tier 3 is yet to be confirmed.

The MEN reports that Andy Burnham is ‘pleased’ about the news but still pushing for financial backing.

He said: “We are pleased the govt has listened to what I and the ten leaders have said consistently throughout this. We’re ready to take on more responsibility, particularly to improve test and trace.

“But none of this will work without a full financial package, both for our councils and also for our businesses, who will be affected by these restrictions. What we will not accept is the govt devolving responsibility and particularly blame without proper resource to do the job.”

Wigan MP, Lisa Nandy has tweeted: “Just learnt Greater Manchester will be placed into tier 2 restrictions via twitter.

“Apparently there was a government briefing for GM MPs but I can’t provide details because I wasn’t invited. I suspect this is because they don’t know where Wigan is. What an absolute shambles”.

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Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens

The violence spilled out into the street

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Magnus D / Flickr

A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.

Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.

The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.

Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.

Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.

This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.

Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.

And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.

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Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June

Do you agree?

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Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.

In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.

One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.

“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”

According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.

Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.

He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). 

There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.

The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”



It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.

“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

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Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters

It follows weeks of allegations against the PM

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No10 / Flickr

According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.

The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.

The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.

No10 / Flickr

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him. 

“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections. 

“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”

No10 / Flickr

The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.

However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.

Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.

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