Greater Manchester Lockdown U-Turn

After a local lockdown was introduced across swathes of Greater Manchester, the Government had promised a lifting of restrictions by the beginning of September. However, as cases continue to rise across numerous affected areas, a last-minute U-turn has meant that the restrictions will remain in place. After a fall in cases earlier in August was observed, areas such as Bolton and Trafford were set to be freed from the restrictions. Yet, at the last-minute the Government announced that all affected areas will “now remain under existing restrictions” as a result of “a significant change in the level of infection rates over the last few days.”

Lockdown Restrictions

Under the previous and now existing restrictions, people in the affected boroughs are prevented from meeting people from different households. Also, businesses have been prevented from offering close contact services, such as facial treatments, as part of the restrictions. The U-turn comes after the Government has maintained a close eye on infection rate figures. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock cited figures suggesting infection rates have more than trebled in Bolton while they have doubled in Trafford, both in under a week. The Government minister declared, “We have always been clear we will take swift and decisive action where needed to contain outbreaks.”

Andy Burnham

Labour’s mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has been among the most vocal critics of the Government’s handling of the local lockdowns affecting his constituency. Having described the debacle surrounding the last-minute U-turn as “complete chaos,” the mayor has also criticised the Government’s weekly local coronavirus announcements as being “like waiting for the white smoke out of the Vatican.” He continued, “It’s not working it’s confusing people, it’s causing anger and resentment. In my view, it’s local councils that need to be in the driving seat here, working in consultation with the Government.”