Steve Allen 4am - 7am
Major incident declared in Greater Manchester over rising coronavirus cases
2 August 2020, 20:43
A major incident has been declared in Greater Manchester following a rise in Covid-19 infections.
Manchester City Council have said those living in the area "should not be alarmed" by the news, and that the measures were taken so agencies can work together effectively.
The decision to up the readiness of emergency and public services to respond to the escalating Covid-19 transmission rate in the region comes after the Government announced new lockdown restrictions for parts of the North West on Thursday.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey, chairman of the Local Resilience Forum in Greater Manchester, said the Strategic Coordination Group met this weekend to discuss regulations in response to last week's announcement.
He said: "Recognising that there are multiple localities across Greater Manchester seeing rises in infection rates, the group reviewed learning from other recent areas, including Leicester, and its own learning from across the partnership and have taken the decision to declare this a major incident in order to respond as effectively as possible.
"This will enable us to maximise the capability of agencies across Greater Manchester, including additional resources if required, to instigate a prompt and positive change in direction."
City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said the declaring of a major incident was a "standard practice for complex situations which require a co-ordinated multi-agency response".
"Although the council and partner organisations have been working closely to tackle the impacts of the pandemic since early this year, declaring a major incident means we can ramp this up further.
"It allows the establishment of a central command structure to oversee the response and enables agencies involved to draw on extra resources.
"Following last week's government announcement of preventative public health measures across Greater Manchester to address the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the public would expect us to give this situation our concerted collective attention.
"That, with a view to enabling these restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible, is exactly what we are doing."
Today's news comes as the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham slammed the decision to pause shielding in the county - just days after new restrictions came into force due to a spike in Covid-19 cases.
He claims it has left people feeling "confused and fearful" and called for an immediate reversal of the policy.
The shielding policy was lifted on Saturday for all areas in England with the exception of some Covid-19 hotspots, including Leicester and surrounding areas, Luton and Blackburn with Darwen.