Here’s why a major incident has been declared in Greater Manchester as coronavirus cases rise

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 1:56 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd August 2020, 1:57 pm
A major incident has been declared in Greater Manchester as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise (Photo: Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

A major incident has been declared in Greater Manchester as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

However, Manchester City Council has said that this is “standard practice” and that people should not be alarmed by the news.

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Why has a major incident been declared?

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the decision was taken in order to help agencies respond "as effectively as possible".

This includes being able to provide extra resources where needed.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said that declaring a major incident was "standard practice for complex situations which require a co-ordinated multi-agency response".

Mr Leese explains that, “declaring a major incident means we can ramp this up further.”

"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."

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), which is made up of ten councils, including Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan, has said that the public should be "reassured" that the guidelines remain unchanged.

What are the new lockdown restrictions?

New lockdown restrictions were announced on Thursday (30 July), banning separate households from meeting at home and in private gardens.

People in the affected areas will not be allowed to mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubbles) in private homes or gardens.

However, some exemptions will be put in place, including for the vulnerable.

These new restrictions apply to all of Greater Manchester, alongside Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale in East Lancashire, and Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees in West Yorkshire.

The city of Leicester, which saw the UK's first local lockdown on 29 June, is also included in the new restrictions.

The new rules also ban members of two different households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues, but those businesses are permitted to remain open for people visiting individually or from the same household.

There is currently no endpoint to the new restrictions, but it is understood that they will be subject to a weekly review.

Why have these new restrictions come into place?

The new restrictions are coming into place due to current data reflecting the spread of coronavirus infections in these areas.

Announcing the measures on 30 July, Mr Hancock said: "We've been working with local leaders across the region, and today I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee.

"Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire & East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe.”

Mr Hancock explained that the spread of the virus “is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing.”

Out of the 19 local authority areas affected by these new restrictions, the rate of Covid-19 in the seven days to 27 July has gone up in 13 of them.

There were 1,536 cases recorded in the space of a week.