"Government are in defiance of their own law by failing to share local Covid data"

17 July 2020, 17:17

By Fiona Jones

The Manchester Mayor told LBC that the Government must share local Covid data so authorities can respond correctly - by continually failing to do this, they are "in defiance of their own law."

Speaking from Number 10, the Prime Minister announced today new powers for local authorities in England to tackle Covid-19 outbreaks.

Mr Johnson unveiled that from tomorrow councils can put in place "local stay at home orders", close certain premises and restrict transport in the event of a spike in cases.

Other powers, which come into effect from Saturday, include cancelling events and limiting the amount of people congregating at once.

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham welcomed the strengthening of local decision making - but was more tentative about the broader opening up of society, telling Shelagh that certain conditions must be fulfilled.

"They need to start giving us all of the data that the Government has on local areas. Like Leicester we're all a bit in the dark about this," Mr Burnham said.

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham tells LBC that local authorities are "left in the dark" by Westminster
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham tells LBC that local authorities are "left in the dark" by Westminster. Picture: PA

"It's the law that when you have what's called a notifiable disease like Covid that names of patients within any given area have to be given to the Director of Public Health and the council. So at the moment they're kind of in defiance of their own law," he explained.

The Mayor of Manchester explained the local public health bodies get postcodes of positive cases but not names: "You can quickly understand that for a council, if you get the names you can go straight to the source...you can't do that with a postcode.

"This issue needs to be resolved, Shelagh," Mr Burnham said.

He also said the Government must put more strength behind the contact tracing system; Boris Johnson said in today's briefing it is essential to boost test and trace system in time for winter and pledges to increase tests to 500,000 a day by the end of October.

The Manchester Mayor continued, "If a person gets a message from that system to self-isolate there shouldn't be any fear that they won't be paid at work if they do that. And the sad thing is, there's many people in this country where if they do that, they won't be paid."

Shelagh confirmed this was certainly the case for a significant amount of LBC callers.

Mr Burnham said the Prime Minister "must guarantee that everyone who gets a message from the track and trace system will get paid."