Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham speaks against local lockdowns

He said he would not welcome shutdowns as a move to combat the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 9:17 am
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 9:18 am

The Government is said to be considering bringing the move back to tackle rising cases in areas such as Bolton.

But the city-region's first citizen said the vaccination roll-out meant a different approach could now be taken.

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Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham

“We were under different forms of local lockdown pretty much for the whole of the second half of last year and it took a huge toll on people, obviously on our businesses and our economy.

“We are in a different situation this year because, even though we are seeing spread of the Indian variant in Bolton, we are not seeing the same numbers of people going into hospital because obviously older people are more protected now.

“So we don’t need to have the same response that we had last year. We do believe if we move quickly on vaccination we can take away any risk of a local lockdown.”

Mr Burnham added that many people's employment situation and the lack of support available made it difficult for them to self-isolate if they became ill with the novel coronavirus.

He said: “We have a lot of younger people in places like Bolton who are in quite insecure work, so if they become ill they fear they won’t be paid if they have to take time off work, and this question of self-isolation support has never been dealt with by the Government all the way through this pandemic, and it’s why some of the less affluent parts of the country often have the highest case rates, and it does really need to be fixed.

“So vaccination, self-isolation support, those are the things the Government should be doing, not doing what can seem the easier thing of just putting local communities under lockdown.”

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