Health Policy
Government introduces localised lockdowns across the north of England

By David Forrest - Integrated Care Journal

The Government has announced a rollback in the easing of lockdown measures in parts of the North of England in a hope to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

In the regions of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, and West Yorkshire the Government has announced that different households will not be allowed to meet in homes or private gardens. Individual households will still be able to go to pubs and restaurants but not mix with another household.

The new restrictions came in to force at Midnight on 31 July, hours after the government announced the measures were to be put into place. The Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted the announcement at 21:16 BST. Two hours later, the Government published more details and then realised information on Friday Morning.

The Restrictions 

  • In Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford, indoor gyms indoor fitness and dance studios indoor sports courts and facilities indoor swimming pools and including indoor facilities at water parks will remain closed
  • People in Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Leicester cannot mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubbles) in private homes or gardens
  • Care homes are to restrict all but necessary visitation

The Affected areas are

  • Greater Manchester:
    • City of Manchester
    • Trafford
    • Stockport
    • Oldham
    • Bury
    • Wigan
    • Bolton
    • Tameside
    • Rochdale
    • Salford
  • Lancashire:
    • Blackburn with Darwen
    • Burnley
    • Hyndburn
    • Pendle
    • Rossendale
  • West Yorkshire
    • Bradford
    • Kirklees
    • Calderdale

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham commented to the BBC that he agreed with the decision as there had been a "marked change in the picture" regarding to the spread of Covid-19 in the area. Stating that the region had "gone from a falling rate of cases in nearly all of our boroughs last week to a rising rate in nine out of 10”.

There has been some criticism of the Government's actions. Conservative MP William Wragg tweeted that Greater Manchester was "not one homogeneous area" and treating all ten boroughs the same was "not the right approach. ” 

Mr Wragg’s comments were supported by Graham Brady MP who added that the “latest update for Trafford says: ‘infections continue to be at a low level. '”  Both suggesting that the Government actions were improper.

Labour has welcomed the move but has criticised the Governments handling of it. Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer commented to the BBC that announcing measures "affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government's communications during this crisis".

The Government has consistently warned since the easing of lockdown they were not afraid to slam on the breaks if needed. This has been demonstrated by the Leicester localised lockdown.

The seven-day infection rate of Covid-19 was 38 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 26 July for Trafford, 16.3 for Tameside and 91 for Blackburn and Darwen, the average in England was five.

#ACJ #coronavirus