The latest news of which areas are to be placed in the new system’s toughest tier, Tier 3, have sparked outrage online.
Comparisons are being made on the vastly different Covid-19 infection rates across towns and cities in England.
Yesterday, the question ‘how is London in Tier 2 when it has an R rate of 1-1.2 and cases increasing by as much as 3% a day?’ was trending on Twitter. In comparison, the R rate for the North West is 0.8-1 with cases falling as much as 3% per day.
Some of the North’s Conservative politicians aren’t being as reserved as Andy Burnham, who responded to the news on BBC Radio Manchester by saying ‘I’m not disagreeing with the Government’s decision’.
Chris Green, MP for Bolton West and Atherton hinted that he thinks the government might be looking at some regions more favourably than others. He said: “I will look forward to reading the analysis that the government must have done.
“Matt Hancock said that Cornwall is in T1 because of how well people have behaved. Does he spend much time there or has it been reported to him? I would like to see that report and the GM version.”
In London, the Covid-19 picture varies across boroughs, much like in Greater Manchester. For instance, in Havering, the rate is 342 cases per 100,000 people.
Eight of the 32 boroughs are above the national average and thirteen are higher than the rate found in Trafford in Greater Manchester.
Other areas, such as Camden, have rates of 88 cases per 100,000 people. The overall infection rate is 182 cases per 100,000 people, down from 196 the week prior.
In light of the rate of infections, most commentators considered London to be on the edge of being placed in Tier 3.
However, while the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals is increasing, it has not hit levels compared to the first spike of infections earlier this year.
In the height of the first spike, 160 Covid patients were in three hospitals in West London with 122 requiring ventialation.
Now, the chief executive of the trust that runs the three hospitals say they have 44 patients with positive tests, taking up 16% of all beds. Of those, 28 are in critical care and only 22 require ventilators.
Professor Tim Orchard, the chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We’ve not seen the demand rises that some parts of the country have.
“We have however seen some of our partner trusts have some more pressure on their acute services.”
To compare, while Greater Manchester’s overall situation has improved in recent weeks it is acknowledged that the overall spread remains very high.
The average infection rate for the region is 276 per 100,000 people. The national figure is 208.
In Oldham on November 4th, this figure was above 800. Now, the rate has fallen by 30% but there are still 388 cases per 100,000 people.
Rates are falling across all ten boroughs but that only began recently. There were more than 600 new Covid-19 patients in Greater Manchester last week, with more than 1,000 patients in intensive care and high dependency units.
Burnham explained the hospital figures as ‘significant but modest reductions’. Essentially, in Greater Manchester the infection rate is currently above average but decreasing faster than England as a whole.
So, while we’re in Tier 3 now, we’re on the right path to get out of it.
The Greater London Authority and Mayor Sadiq Khan said Tier 2 as a city-wide approach across London was the ‘right and sensible option’, despite some local MPs calling for a borough by borough assessment.
Boris Johnson, former mayor, agrees with Khan. He said: “The incidence is different in different parts of the city, but there are many things that unite London and encourage transmission across its vast network and I am afraid that is still I think the most sensible way of dealing with it.”
In Greater Manchester, the services are run by ten unitary authorities, however, the area has been dealt with as a single entity with the government making its tier assessment on that basis.
Tory MP, William Wragg (Hazel Grove) said he will be voting against the new tier system, and asked other MPs to do the same. Sir Graham Brady (Tory MP for Altrincham and Sale West) has added he will do the same.
Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish said he was ‘minded to oppose’ the proposal. He said: “This will be a heavy blow for the hospitality businesses across Denton and Reddish who have invested heavily in Covid-secure measures to allow them to reopen safely.
“I will look very carefully at the measures to be brought before Parliament.
“I support the new tougher enforcement powers to ensure business compliance with Covid regulations, but I don’t support the arbitrary singling out of the hospitality sector, which all the data shows is responsible for around just 3% of transmissions.
“What we actually need is to protect the most vulnerable, and roll-out proper localised testing and contact tracing.”
Mum-of-two raffles off stunning £600k five-bedroom house and Ferrari for just £2
Wait until you see inside the stunning house
After spending nearly a year locked down in our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all thought about moving house at some point, just for a change of scenery.
Well, if you are thinking about moving somewhere a bit bigger, then we’ve got just the thing for you – a stunning £590,000 bespoke five-bedroom house.
And in even better news, you could grab this beautiful house for just £2, as owners Jennifer and David Matthews are raffling off the property, and are throwing in their Ferrari as well.
The couple built Bramble Lodge – which is located between Bolton and Chorley, near to Adlington – from scratch eight years ago, but now want to sell up and move on.
They came to the difficult decision of selling their ‘dream home’ as they need a more manageable property to clean and run, because of Jennifer’s health condition.
Known as Ventricular tachycardia, it’s an incurable heart condition that causes a fast, abnormal heart rate, and means the mum-of-two could die at any moment.
However, the coronavirus crisis has made it very difficult to sell the property, which is why they decided to try their luck on popular raffle site Raffall.
This is good news for anyone dreaming of moving into a huge, new family home, as the keys to the five-bedroom detached house – which is worth over half a million and is located in a sought-after postcode – could be yours for as little as £2.
Bramble Lodge is set in its own grounds, hidden away behind a dry stone wall with electric gates for maximum privacy and security, and surrounded by stunning gardens, complete with trees and even a swing.
There’s lots of parking space, with the large drive able to accommodate four cars, which will include the 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider that you claim alongside the house if you win.
Once inside, there are three beautiful reception rooms and a huge kitchen area with a breakfast bar and an even an Aga.
Head up the elegant spiral staircase to five double sized bedrooms, including one with an en-suite and slipper bath. The second bedroom has a stunning feature window with the staircase to the kitchen area.
The area – once home to Ryan Giggs – boasts outstanding primary schools, a nearby train station with trains to Manchester, has good motorway links, and is also close to the award-winning The Cherry Tree at Blackrod.
The Matthews need to sell all the tickets on Raffall by February 14th, or the raffle will end before that if the last ticket sells before that date.
The lucky winner will be chosen at random, so make sure you grab your ticket or tickets ASAP, as they’re sure to sell quickly.
You can find out more and grab a ticket on the Raffall site here – good luck!
Car swallowed by sinkhole in Manchester after the city is battered by rain and snow
‘Cars getting swallowed now’
A car was partially swallowed up by a sinkhole on a Manchester street last night, after the city was battered with torrential rain and snow.
The weather was relentless yesterday, with heavy rain leading to rivers around our region reaching dangerous levels, followed by snow in the evening.
To top it off, a large crater appeared on a residential street in Gorton yesterday evening, with a car falling into it.
The sinkhole was spotted on Walmer Street in Abbey Hey, with the road surface looking like it ‘buckled’ leaving a roughly four square metre hole.
People took to social media to share photos of the car, which has now been removed.
The street was then partly cordoned off by emergency services, who remained at the scene last night, with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and GMP attending.
Surveyors were also on hand to assess the area for structural damage to surrounding houses, although no further details have been released yet about the cause of the sinkhole.
Around 3,000 properties at risk of flooding tonight in Greater Manchester as heavy rain continues
Stay safe out there everyone
As Storm Christoph continues to batter Greater Manchester, some areas of south Manchester and Trafford are at risk of flooding tonight.
Around 3,000 properties will be at risk this evening, according to the police, as authorities continue to monitor the rainfall and its impact on our rivers – with several warnings already issued.
Speaking at Andy Burnham’s press conference earlier this afternoon, Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey detailed the latest information.
According to him, the areas most at risk across Greater Manchester will be those near the River Mersey, specifically Didsbury, Northenden, Sale, and potentially parts of Stretford and Flixton.
ACC Bailey said: “As we speak, residents across those areas are being contacted by the Environment Agency and local authorities to advise them.
“Alerts have already been put out, people there are being advised to consider evacuation procedures should that happen.
“We are going to start to see the overflow contingency provisions at around 5pm. That will reach a peak at around 11pm this evening where we will see flooding of those areas.
“In its worst-case scenario, estimated by the Environment Agency, that could impact on up to 3,000 properties across all the areas.
“This is a significant incident in terms of disruption to population.”
ACC Nick Bailey went on to say that those 3,000 properties might not need to evacuate, adding that authorities will be working ‘right up to the last minute’ to try and prevent that from happening.
In the meantime, Manchester and Trafford councils have been setting up rest centres for anyone who does need to evacuate, and police have confirmed that Covid restrictions do not apply in an evacuation situation – you should leave your home if necessary.
ACC Bailey added: “Those people have been advised with regards of advice to take where they do feel the need to take action to prevent them being harmed.
“We need to make sure they do take that action, they do make sure they’re safe. The legislation around covid will not be applied there are exemptions.
“If you need to take action, join other bubbles go other properties, please do that if that’s necessary to do that to protect you and your family.”
If you’re worried about the situation you can contact your local authority, however if it’s an emergency dial 999.
Stay safe out there everyone!