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Matt Hancock explains that new rules are ‘crystal clear’, despite much public confusion

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Matt Hancock has described the new rules, announced late last night, as ‘crystal clear’ speaking this morning. 

The government have faced backlash this morning over the way they announced new localised restrictions in the North of England last night.

People in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire were told they could no longer meet anybody from another household indoors.

The ban was announced at 9pm last night, coming into effect at 12pm.

Many people were confused as to what the new rules meant for them and expressed concerns regarding the announcement taking place via Matt Hancock’s Twitter account. 

A short video clip was released shortly after 9pm last night, however, some local public health directors did now know about the new announcement.

The government published its Q&A on the changes at 22 minutes past midnight. They also explained that people can face £100 fines for breaking the rules, despite explaining that the law does not yet exist.

Matt Hancock told Sky News today that the measures are ‘crystal clear’, adding a press conference will be held later today ‘at which more details will be put out and more of the questions will be answered.’ 

He said: “It’s absolutely crystal clear what the measure is. Which is that you shouldn’t socialise with people in other households except in public outdoor places – so not in your own home or your garden.

“You can go to the pub, but with members of your own household.”

Andy Burnham has also expressed concerns regarding the announcement. He told Sky News that ‘last night a lot of people I think felt very uncertain about what exactly was being announced.’

Adding: “So what I would say to them (ministers) is I understand the need to make announcements, I understand the need for decisive action.

“But when ministers go in front of the cameras, make sure you’ve got the detail ready to go exactly at the same time.”

Manchester Central MP and shadow business minister Lucy Powell said: “The way they’ve been announced has frankly been a bit of a disaster.

“Announcing them two hours before they come into effect is a bit of a bolt out of the blue with no-one around able to answer some of the basic questions, I really is not the way to build confidence and to take people with you and to maximise compliance with these steps.

“We really do need some real answers to basic questions this morning so that people can understand what they need to do.”

Tory MP for Hazel Grove William Wragg said: “‘Greater Manchester’ is not one homogeneous area.

“We must always err on the side of caution with COVID, but to treat all 10 boroughs the same is not the right approach.”

The new rules came into effect from Midnight last night and mean you can no longer meet with people outside of your household indoors. 

Mr Hancock said: “The biggest risk in terms of the spread if this virus across this area is household transmission when people are going to see each other in each other’s homes when they’re not in a household together. And also visiting friends and relatives.

“Actually we’re not seeing as much transmission in terms of people in their place of work, going to retail or other areas.”

Matt Hancock has also denied that the action taken was being aimed at curtailing Eid celebrations. 

Asked on BBC’s Today programme whether the measures were to stop Eid celebrations Hancock said:  “No, my heart goes out to the Muslim communities in these areas because I know how important the Eid celebrations are.

“I’m very grateful to the local Muslim leaders, the imams in fact, across the country who’ve been working so hard to find a way to have COVID-secure celebrations.

“For instance celebrating Eid in parks where there’s more space available and of course outdoors is safer than indoors.”

Find out more about the new rules here

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Man arrested after mum pushing pram stabbed and killed in broad daylight

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder

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West Yorkshire Police

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man wanted for the fatal stabbing of a woman while she was pushing her baby in a pram in Bradford.

Police have arrested a suspect, following the murder of Kulsuma Akter, 27. Akter was stabbed several times in the Westgate area of Bradford city centre on Saturday afternoon. 

The mother was rushed to hospital, where despite the best efforts of medics, she sadly succumbed to her injuries. Her baby was unharmed in the incident.

It has also emerged that suspect, Habibur Masum, was on bail for assaulting and threatening to kill her at the time of the attack.

West Yorkshire Police

Masum was conditionally bailed by Manchester Magistrates’ Court in November, despite prosecutors objecting to his release, it is understood.

Court documents show Masum, whose address was listed as Oldham, Greater Manchester, was charged with assaulting Ms Akter on November 23rd and threatening to kill her on November 24th.

Both incidents are alleged to have happened in Greater Manchester. Police had previously confirmed the couple were known to each other but have not confirmed their relationship. 

Masum attended a hearing on November, 27th 2023, where he pleaded not guilty to both offences and was ordered not to contact Ms Akter, it is understood.

West Yorkshire Police

His bail conditions also prevented him from contacting a second person, or visiting a particular address.

Greater Manchester Police has said it is supporting West Yorkshire Police with the ongoing murder investigation.

Both forces have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog over previous contact with Masum and Ms Akter.

Detective Superintendent Jude Holmes, from GMP Oldham district, said: “We share the shock and concern that our communities feel in the wake of this tragic incident, and our thoughts are with Kulsuma Akter’s family at this truly distressing time.

“Habibur Masum is wanted by West Yorkshire Police on suspicion of murder. Due to his links to Greater Manchester, we have our specialist officers following several lines of enquiry to locate him.

“I urge members of the public to remain vigilant, and if you have any information on his whereabouts, call 999 as a matter of urgency.

“Due to previous police contact with Habibur Masum and Kulsuma Akter, Greater Manchester Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder. A 23-year-old man was also arrested in Cheshire on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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Hunt for murder suspect after mum pushing pram killed in broad daylight

It is not clear whether is Masum is armed as police warn not to approach him

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West Yorkshire Police

Police are searching for a man from Oldham after a mum was stabbed to death in Bradford while pushing her baby in a pram.

Habibur Masum, 25, is wanted over the attack which took place in the Westgate area of Bradford at 3.21pm on Saturday (April 6th).

The victim, a 27-year-old woman, suffered multiple stab wounds and was taken to hospital where she sadly died of her injuries, West Yorkshire Police said.

West Yorkshire Police

The force also confirmed the baby was not harmed in the attack as the public is warned not to approach Masum.

It is understood Masum was known to the victim although police have not confirmed their relationship at this time. A knife was found at the scene but it is unclear if he is armed.

Masum was pictured on CCTV wearing a grey hooded, zip-up coat with three large horizontal lines of grey, white and black on it, grey tracksuit bottoms with a black logo and burgundy trainers. 

West Yorkshire Police

A witness also reported seeing him wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up shortly after the incident on Westgate, at the junction with Drewton Road.

Masum is from Oldham and is believed to have links to Burnley and Chester. He is described as an Asian man, of slim build.

Detective Chief Inspector Stacey Atkinson said: “We have had significant resources following up a number of lines of inquiry to locate Habibur Masum but at this time his whereabouts are unknown.

“I would urge anyone who does see him not to approach him but to call 999 immediately.”

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She said the death of such a young woman in the ‘most awful circumstances’ will ‘understandably cause concern in the local community’.

Detective Chief Inspector Atkinson Added: “I would like to reassure the wider public that we are working tirelessly to investigate this horrendous crime and bring the person responsible to justice.

“To help us with this we are urging anyone who was in the area who may have dashcam footage or seen or heard something, however small it may seem, to please come forward.

“A scene remains in place which includes some road closures and I thank the public for their patience while we conduct our enquiries.”

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Man arrested in murder investigation after human torso found in Salford nature reserve

A man in his 20s is being questioned by police

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a human torso was found wrapped in plastic in a nature reserve in Salford.

As detectives continue to investigate the discovery of human remains found by a passerby on Thursday, April 4th, a man in his 20s from Salford was taken into custody on Saturday evening for questioning, Greater Manchester Police say.

DNA testing is being carried out to determine the identity of the victim, who is believed to be a male ‘likely to be aged older than 40’ and ‘has only been deceased for a matter of days’, officers say.

@gmpolice / X

GMP says it is conducting a thorough search of the area by utilising local officers and specialist branches including search dogs and assistance from underwater search teams, to help comb the site.

The force says although it has ‘not found anything else that is of interest to the investigation’, ‘work will not stop’ until it is certain the area has been thoroughly searched.

Chief Superintendent Tony Creely, of GMP’s Salford district, said: “The arrest we made yesterday evening is an important step for our investigation, but we must keep an open mind and a big part of this is speaking to anyone who may have crucial information.

“As we continue to work in the area, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their concern and cooperation so far, and we are mindful this is a disturbing incident for the local community, but I can assure you that since we were made aware, we’ve been pursuing every single line of enquiry to help us find out what has happened.

“I cannot stress the importance of people contacting us with information if they know anything at all. You may have information that you don’t feel is of importance, but it could be to us, please pass it on, it could be the key piece of information we need to progress this investigation.”

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed something suspicious in the Kersal Dale area over the last few days is urged to call GMP on 101 and quoting log number 2695 of April, 4th 2024.

A dedicated portal for anyone to submit images or video footage which could help police can be found HERE.

 

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