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Greater Manchester’s coronavirus hotspots have been revealed

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Chemical Engineer / Wikimedia

Figures released on June 4th suggested the North West had almost twice England’s overall infection rate, but that the rates varied considerably within districts. 

Now Greater Manchester officials have been analysing the data to work out a localised picture of COVID-19 levels within communities.

Andy Burnham has announced that council leaders are working on a ‘heat map’ that can be used by the public to workout their personal risk levels within their community, the Manchester Evening News reports.

There has been no date announced for the release of this, but the heat map will use a range of different figures so is likely to take a while to compile. 

Dennis Turner / Geograph

According to figures circulating in the council over the last few days, Tameside and Bury had the highest COVID-19 infection rates in Greater Manchester, while Stockport had the lowest, followed by Salford.

For the period 21st May – 4th June, Public Health England figures showed that Tameside had an infection rate of 28.7 per 100,000, while Bury had 26.2 and Rochdale 25.6.

The overall English average for the same period was 9.2

In other boroughs in our region, Salford had a rate of 9.7, Bolton 10.4, Manchester 15.2, Oldham 16.9, Trafford 18.1, Wigan 18.6, and Greater Manchester in general had a rate of 16.8.

Meanwhile the lowest rate, according to the data, was in Stockport, with a rate of 6.8. 

Gerald England / Geograph

Those numbers have influenced different council’s approaches to opening schools for instance, with Tameside and Bury council being more cautious regarding reopening them.

Tameside and Bury council acknowledged the numbers, stressing that it was only one of a range of measurements assessing the situation, and also pointing out the testing rates within those areas will be a contributing factor. 

Tameside, for instance, has experienced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for testing so they are physically able to test and therefore pick up more cases in the community. 

Within these tests, according to a Tameside council spokesperson, people who are asymptomatic are also picked up on the test as positive, particularly in care homes. 

Andy Burnham expressed his concerns with the ‘R’ rate, as it ‘doesn’t necessarily on its own help the public understand what’s going on in their community’.

Chemical Engineer / Wikimedia

A Bury council spokesman said: “These figures are just one source of data that we use to try and gain a sense of the local picture, none of which are perfect.

“These figures are reflective of the number of tests carried out within the period which may be different in different areas and over time.

“Work is underway to develop a more meaningful data set which will help us and the public better understand the number of cases in the borough and local trends.”

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s director for public health said: “We continue to monitor various sources to assess the impact Covid-19 is having within our borough and the number of new cases obviously plays a big part in our evaluation.


Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school

He’s the second person to be arrested

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West Yorkshire Police

A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.

The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.

He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.

He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.

West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.

“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.

“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”

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Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor


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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.

He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.

There’s also unit price limits for companies.

Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.

As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.

He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.

Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.

As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.

This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.

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Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine has died aged 28


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@thecherryvalentine / Instagram

Drag star George Ward, known as Cherry Valentine, has sadly passed away aged 28, it’s been confirmed this morning.

Ward’s family announced the news, describing his death as a ‘profound shock’.

He appeared on series two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, before going on to front the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen And Proud.

According to his family, Ward – who was raised in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveller community – died on Sunday.

He qualified as a mental health nurse back in 2015 before he began his career in drag.

Ward’s family said in a statement: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.

“This will come as a profound shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced.

“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie.”

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