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Manchester declares 'major incident' over rising Covid-19 infections

GREATER MANCHESTER declared a “major incident” today following a rise in coronavirus infections across the area.

The classification, usually invoked after terrorist attacks or natural disasters, enables local councils to claim extra resources from the government.

Police and councillors in Greater Manchester met last weekend following the government’s decision to reimpose new lockdown measures in northern England.

Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese said that the classification allows the establishment of a central command structure to oversee the response. 

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has urged ministers to cancel the ending of the shielding programme aimed at protecting people deemed “extremely clinically vulnerable” to the virus.

Under the programme, vulnerable people are entitled to free food parcels and medicine deliveries. They have been told to seek help from charities and volunteers instead.

The Labour mayor said that the government has asked for his help in imposing the new restrictions.

“I am now asking them to listen to us: please reinstate the shielding policy in Greater Manchester from first thing tomorrow,” he said.

“Failure to do so is wrong and inhumane.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also been accused of “an affront to London” over reported plans to place a quarantine ring around the capital should there be a second wave of coronavirus cases.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the idea “totally unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool public health director Matt Ashton argued that a locally led plan to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases in an area of the city is “much more likely” to succeed than nationally imposed measures.

He said that the response from the community to new measures imposed at Princes Park, one of the most deprived wards in the city which has seen an increase in cases, has been “phenomenal.”

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