Greater Manchester COVID Restrictions Delay ‘Puts Lives At Risk’

Further delays to a decision on Greater Manchester’s Covid restrictions will “put people’s lives at risk”, the communities secretary has said.

Robert Jenrick said he hoped he could reach an agreement with the region’s MPs, and its mayor Andy Burnham, “in the next day or two”.

Local leaders want better financial support before they agree to being moved up to the top tier of rules.

Talks will continue later after a weekend of discussions.

Mr Jenrick indicated that “tens of millions” of pounds given to the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire – the two parts of England already in tier three – could be on offer for Greater Manchester.

It comes as the Welsh Government is due to announce whether it will introduce a two-week national lockdown.

The cabinet will meet this morning to make a final decision over a so-called circuit-breaker, after considering advice from experts, with First Minister Mark Drakeford expected to make the announcement today.

A further 16,982 people tested positive for the virus in the UK as of Sunday, figures from the Department of Health showed, with a further 67 deaths occurring within 28 days of a positive test.

The dispute over which tier of restrictions Greater Manchester should be in intensified on Friday after Boris Johnson said that he might “need to intervene” if local leaders did not accept a move to tier three curbs.

But Mr Burnham wants the government to re-introduce the 80% furlough scheme used previously in the pandemic to support the low paid affected by tier three closures.

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