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Monday, June 14, 2021

Covid: People in the North West welcome extra help to curb cases

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Ministry of Defence undated handout photo of Gunner Emery (1RHA) hands a Bolton resident a COVID19 testing kit. Across the UK, members of the Armed Forces have been working to support the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine programme, with new deployments planned in Scotland and North West England

image copyrightSgt Ben Maher

People in the North West have welcomed extra help to tackle a rise in the Delta variant, including a boost of Covid vaccinations and testing.

Similar tactics to those successfully used in Bolton will be implemented across the whole of Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire.

It will include military support and supervised in-school testing in the areas hardest hit.

Student Jess Walmsley said people she knew were being cautious.

“It is very sad cases are rising again but people are being sensible because we’re all looking forward to 21 June,” the 20-year-old added.

“It could still change but it’s a date in our diary as a time when the world reopens.”

The University of Manchester student said she doubted the government advice to minimise travel in and out of the area and avoid meeting indoors would change life for her or fellow students as they were already being cautious.

“We’re all raring to go [and] to return to normal life,” she said.

Ms Walmsley said she queued for six hours to get her first Covid vaccination dose along with many of her friends.

“All the people I live with went to get one too,” she said.

Jess Walmsley

image copyrightFamily photo

Parul Chauhan, who runs a restaurant in Ashton​-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, said the recent spike in infections had already impacted on her business.

“In the past few weeks we have had a number of cancellations and no shows,” she told BBC Radio Manchester.

She said while she “totally understands” the new guidance it will have a knock-on effect for her restaurant as people may be even “more cautious” now.

But Ms Chauhan said the measures were “better than being completely shut down”.

Glyn Potts, head teacher of Newman RC College in Oldham said schools were doing all they could to stop the virus spreading and his staff had “moved heaven and earth” to do their best for the pupils.

“We have got to do all we can to make September the fresh bright start back to normality,” he said.

He said he was pleased with the government help but thinks it could have been done earlier.

“The real frustration is we saw this coming before half term,” Mr Potts added.

“Perhaps something could have been said before children all departed and we all took a deserved break.”

Parul Chauhan

image copyrightLily’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine

The head teacher of Haslingden High School and Sixth Form in east Lancashire told BBC Radio Lancashire he was “desperate for reality to return” so was grateful for the extra support for the region.

Mark Jackson said the pandemic was “incredibly disruptive” for pupils and he was hoping for a “fresh start” in September.

On suggestions of vaccinations for pupils aged 12 and over, he said: “If vaccination is the way forward to achieve that then we are all for it.”

“Young people have had a really tough time over the last 15 months,” Mr Jackson added.

“We’ve had lockdowns and even when they are back in school the experience is nothing like it would normally be with very few extra curriculum activities and less interactivity.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham receiving his second dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination at the vaccine clinic set up in the Etihad Stadium, Manchester

image copyrightPA Media

Lancashire’s public health director Dr Sakthi Karunanithi said it was an “escalating situation in terms of highly transmissible virus”.

“We need to really tread carefully in unlocking further just so that we do that sustainably and not having the prospect of going back in [lockdown] again,” he said.

However, he said there were “no local lockdowns, no travel restrictions, but let’s all apply our Covid sense”.

Dr Karunanithi said the focus locally was to make testing become “part of our normal routine”, as well as “bringing vaccines closer to people through walk-ins and pop-up clinics”.

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