Amber coronavirus alert in UK city on same day local lockdown measures eased

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Trafford’s coronavirus infection rate has risen by a third only hours after the government released it from lockdown.

The city is now into an “amber” alert level following anger from local health bosses that it was being lifted from restrictions.

Everyone living in Greater Manchester was banned from meeting other households in the comfort of their own home or garden under a desperate attempt to tackle rising rates of Covd-19.

But despite rising infection rates, Trafford was made exempt from those rules today.

Trafford was removed from lightening lockdown measures against the wishes of local council and health chiefs, the Manchester Evening News reports.

In a furious Twitter rant. Council leader Andrew Western: "I lead a council with a population of 230,000 people, but [the] government couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone to tell me we were being overruled, let alone explain why."

In a statement, he said: "It was our view – in line with the expert advice from the council’s director of public health – that we should see evidence of a sustained reduction in Trafford’s infection numbers before calling for the lifting of local restrictions.

"This is not yet the case, with the last few days showing a slight increase in infection rates again.

"We understand some will consider this to have been an overly cautious approach, but it has been one made with the safety of Trafford residents in mind. We believe it is slightly premature to lift restrictions relating to households at this time.

"I am now advised that the latest figures show an increase in prevalence of a third, pushing us into the amber zone and making this decision more concerning. Current rate of infection in Trafford now at 28."

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Trafford Council asked ministers to extend the rules for another fortnight "in the interests of public safety".

But the Government insisted it was safe to remove the Greater Manchester town from its lockdown restrictions.

Before the decision to remove restrictions was made, the borough's infection rate was 21.1 cases per 100,000 – almost twice the national average rate of infection of 11.7.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said previously that the Government has been "working very, very closely" with public health authorities in areas already locked down.

Large swathes of Greater Manchester have been plunged into local lockdowns following spiralling Covid-19 infections.

Tougher lockdown rules are in place for Oldham, Blackburn and Pendle as oflast Friday, following rising numbers of people testing positive.

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Households in the three areas were banned from meeting together because infection rates were still rising but ministers stopped short of imposing full local lockdowns and ordering businesses to shut

At the same time Number 10 announced that Wigan, Darwen and Rossendale would be released from lockdown rules because of a drop in cases.

Trafford will be added to the list of areas that will be released from the measures, despite desperate pleas from local authorities.

The decision means Trafford residents will be able to meet with other households indoors and in their gardens once more, while maintaining social distancing.

Cllr Western said earlier: "It is apparent that for all of their claims of working in collaboration with local authorities, the government has decided to overrule the council and lift restrictions in Trafford.

"Nobody in government has bothered to discuss this with the leader of the council or explained the reasoning for this decision to anybody within the council, and we reiterate our support for the position advocated by our director of public health.

"This action by government makes a mockery of the claims of locally led decision making and once again shows that local government is being ignored in spite of being on the front line of this crisis.

"This is incredibly disappointing and it is impossible not to think it is a political move following the changes to local decision making processes announced last week which gave a key role to MPs.

"This was a recipe for disaster given that many of them have themselves acknowledged that they do not have access to the expert public health advice councils do, and until that point had been nowhere near the civic response to this crisis."

  • Coronavirus

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