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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Postcode lockdown extended – but mayor vows to defy 'damaging' new rules

Tougher coronavirus restrictions are being imposed on four new areas – but one mayor says they are “damaging” and he will not implement them.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged residents in the Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough not to socially mix with those from other households – except in outdoor spaces like parks and outdoor hospitality settings.

And he asked them to avoid “all but essential travel” – meaning people can still go to work and school.

The changes will come into effect from 12:01am on Saturday.

Mr Hancock said the measures are needed because “in some parts of the country, the virus is spreading fast”, with cases shooting up to 268 per 100,000 people in Liverpool.

A couple wearing protective face coverings chat in the street in Liverpool city centre, north-west England on September 18, 2020 after the British government imposed fresh restrictions on the city after an rise in cases of the novel coronavirus. - Millions more people in northern and central England faced new restrictions over a surge in coronavirus cases, the British government announced on Friday, as it warned another national lockdown could be imminent. Tighter regulations preventing people from socialising with anyone outside their household will come into force from next Tuesday across parts of the northwest, the Midlands and West Yorkshire. Food and drink venues in the northwestern areas of Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire will be restricted to table service only, while pubs and bars will have to shut early by 10:00 pm (2100 GMT). (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Image: Liverpool has seen cases rise to 268 per 100,000 people

But the second spike in COVID-19 cases is “highly localised”, he claimed, adding recent actions are having a “positive impact”.

“What we’re doing to respond to these awful circumstances is starting to work, so don’t let up,” he said in a Commons statement on Thursday.

More from Covid-19

“Let’s all of us keep doing our bit and one day, over this virus, we will prevail.”

Steve Rotheram, the metro mayor for the Liverpool City Region, said the measures are a “step in the right direction” but added he was unsure “whether they are enough”.

He called on the government to publish its scientific evidence and provide “substantial” economic support for already-struggling fims.

An NHS information sign about Coronavirus on a digital screen at the Liverpool ONE shopping complex in Liverpool city centre.

Image: The government has been urged to give more financial support to struggling firms

But the restrictions were branded “unacceptable” by Andy Preston, the independent mayor of Middlesbrough.

He told Sky News “we went to the government with fantastic, intelligent, pragmatic proposals” about how to stem the spread of coronavirus, but “we weren’t listened to” and “what’s been put to us now is unacceptable”.

“Obviously if there is a law then I will follow the law and nobody should break the law,” he said.

“But as things stand, I do not accept these proposals – they are unnecessary, they go too far, they’ll damage mental health and they’ll kill viable jobs.”

Mr Preston added it was “madness and completely unnecessary” to stop households socially mixing in COVID-secure cafes that would be “pushed out of business”, leading to job losses, under the government’s orders.

“We’re not soft on COVID here, we’re strong on COVID – but we need to find a way of living with it, working with it and saving jobs,” he said.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth earlier suggested the local lockdown approach is not working.

He said many regions subject to them are seeing cases rise not fall, so asked: “Why are the moles not getting whacked?”

At least 16 million people are now living under some form of enhanced restriction, on top of the national measures in place across the UK.

This post courtesy of sky

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This post courtesy of sky