The boroughs of Greater Manchester could be split into different tiers, Mayor Andy Burnham has suggested at a press conference.
Mr Burnham held his weekly coronavirus press conference yesterday, and was joined by his deputy for crime and policing, Bev Hughes, as well as the leader of Manchester City Council Council, Sir Richard Leese.
The mayor said that while there has been a ‘significant decline’ in hospital admissions across Greater Manchester, the infection rates are varying in different areas, with cases in Bury actually growing by 5% (to 225.7 per 100,000), while in Trafford they’ve dropped down into double digits (81.5 per 100,000).
Because of this, Mr Burnham said that ‘it does make sense’ to consider changes on a borough by borough basis, so as not to ‘hold back’ areas and local businesses in places which are less affected by coronavirus.
However, the mayor added that while the idea of changing tiers on a borough basis had some merit, there was also still a case for the whole region to go down into Tier 2.
Mr Burnham urged ministers to give Greater Manchester the ‘wider consideration’ they gave London when making the tiering decisions, following the prediction that 100,000 people could lose their jobs in our region by June 2021.
He said: “This is a critical time for the economy, particularly the city-centre economy. If you were to keep cities in Tier 3 over the holiday period, it does have the effect of creating an incentive for people to have more informal gatherings in the home.”
This news comes after it was announced that London now has the highest infection rate in the country, after it narrowly avoided going into Tier 3 just two weeks ago.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the government will be re-assessing the current tiers next Wednesday, December 16th, before making an announcement on December 17th.
The current infection rates for Greater Manchester’s boroughs, per 100,000 of the population:
- Bury – 225.7 (+5%)
- Rochdale – 215.4 (-19%)
- Wigan – 187.1 (-12%)
- Manchester – 169.9 (-10%)
- Bolton – 163.5 (-26%)
- Oldham – 153.5 (-33%)
- Salford – 129.8 (-17%)
- Tameside – 117.9 (-20%)
- Stockport – 113.5 (-18%)
- Trafford – 85.1 (-30%)
In comparison, the national average in England currently sits at 152.1, with London’s infection rate now confirmed at 192.
Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens
The violence spilled out into the street
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.
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.
Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June
Do you agree?
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.
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”.
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.”
Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters
It follows weeks of allegations against the PM
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%.
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.”
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.