COVID-19 rates in Manchester and Liverpool continue to surge

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·4 mins read
Shoppers wearing face coverings due to COVID-19 pass beneath an electronic sign reminding pedestrians to "act now to avoid a local lockdown" outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester, northern England on October 6, 2020, after localised restrictions were introduced across northwest following a spike in coronavirus cases. - More than 42,000 people confirmed to have Covid-19 have died in Britain, the worst toll in Europe. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Shoppers in face coverings pass beneath a sign reminding pedestrians to 'act now to avoid a local lockdown' outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester. (Getty)

COVID-19 rates in some northern cities have almost doubled in a week, despite local lockdowns coming into force last Wednesday.

The Manchester rate grew to 3,105 new cases recorded in the seven days to 3 October – the equivalent of 561.6 cases per 100,000 people.

The Liverpool COVID rate also increased sharply, from 325.1 to 516.0 with 2,570 new cases, just a week after the north-west local lockdown restricted social mixing for almost 2 million people.

But leaders in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds have warned health secretary Matt Hancock that they would not support further “economic lockdowns” and called for new powers to tackle the resurgence.

People queuing outside a walk-in coronavirus test centre at Allerton Library in Liverpool amid rising cases across parts of England, with the latest weekly infection figures showing Knowsley and Liverpool have the second and third highest rates, at 498.5 and 487.1 respectively. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
People queue outside a walk-in coronavirus test centre at Allerton Library in Liverpool amid rising cases across parts of England. (PA)

The leaders of Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle city councils – Judith Blake, Sir Richard Leese and Nick Forbes – joined Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson to write to the health secretary to say they are “extremely concerned” with the rise in cases, but hit out at the “confusing” regulations.

“The existing restrictions are not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm rule, are counter-productive,” the Labour politicians wrote.

They called for additional powers to punish those who break rules, for new restrictions to be developed by police, council and public health experts, and for a locally controlled test and trace system.

Watch: What is a local lockdown?

“We want to be clear however that we do not support further economic lockdowns,” the leaders added.

Health officials are also expecting Nottingham to be placed in lockdown after a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Professor John Edmunds, who is advising the government’s coronavirus response, joined the criticism of local measures on Tuesday, arguing that new national restrictions were needed immediately to bring the pandemic under control.

“These local restrictions that have been put in place in much of the north of England really haven’t been very effective,” he told BBC Newsnight.

“We need to take much more stringent measures, not just in the north of England, we need to do it countrywide, and bring the epidemic back under control.”

He said the government’s current “light touch” measures are just “delaying the inevitable”.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock arrives in Downing Street in central London to attend Cabinet meeting temporarily held at the Foreign Office to comply with social distancing guidelines due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, on 30 September, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Local leaders wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock about 'confusing' local lockdowns. (Getty)

“We will at some point put very stringent measures in place because we will have to when hospitals start to really fill up,” he said. “Frankly, the better strategy is to put them in place now.”

The calls came as the UK-wide seven-day rate increased to 125.7 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people from 63.8 a week ago, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

Daily figures showed there were 14,542 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, as of 9am on Tuesday.

A woman wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks past a sign asking pedestrians to "Do Your Bit" in Manchester, northern England on October 6, 2020, after localised restrictions were introduced across northwest following a spike in coronavirus cases. - More than 42,000 people confirmed to have Covid-19 have died in Britain, the worst toll in Europe. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a sign asking pedestrians to 'do your bit' in Manchester. (Getty)

These have trebled in a fortnight – on 22 September, there were 4,926 cases recorded.

The government said a further 76 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

More than 58,000 deaths involving COVID-19 have now been registered in the UK.

Latest weekly COVID-19 rates for local authority areas in England

From left to right: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to 3 October; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to 3 October; rate of new cases in the seven days to 26 September; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to 26 September.

Manchester: 561.6 (3105), 261.2 (1444)

Knowsley: 534.3 (806), 335.4 (506)

Liverpool: 516.0 (2570), 325.1 (1619)

Newcastle upon Tyne: 445.1 (1348), 297.5 (901)

Nottingham: 440.1 (1465), 71.2 (237)

Burnley: 416.1 (370), 349.8 (311)

Leeds: 346.6 (2749), 154.6 (1226)

St Helens: 328.9 (594), 227.0 (410)

Sefton: 328.5 (908), 215.6 (596)

Sheffield: 320.4 (1874), 112.3 (657)

Watch: £10,000 fines for refusing to self-isolate

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