Priority testing should be given to those in coronavirus hotspots, says GM mayor

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said that priority testing should be given to those in hotspots for coronavirus.
Andy BurnhamAndy Burnham
Andy Burnham

Mr Burnham said those with a postcode in areas with the highest rates of coronavirus should be given priority when booking a coronavirus test.

He said: "On testing, we do need the government to prioritise areas with the highest numbers of cases for bookings through the national system."

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"What we have here are systems which are not sufficiently attuned to the needs of local communities, systems that don't prioritise areas of greatest need for testing to available capacity."

He said tests had still been taking place in Greater Manchester this week but probably at a reduced capacity and there was increased demand.

Going on to say that the national test and trace system was "failing" to reach 46 per cent of named contacts in the area, Mr Burnham said police community support officers and fire staff would be called on to help with contact tracing.

He said: “Test, trace and isolate is not working well enough for Greater Manchester at the moment and we have only a small number of weeks to fix it before we go into the really tough time which lies ahead in the autumn and into the winter.”

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“We have agreements from Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to mobilise a number of police community support officers and fire safety staff to focus their efforts on contacting the contacts that are currently not being reached in Greater Manchester by the national system.”

He added that businesses should give employees permission and financial support to self-isolate if asked to do so by the NHS Test and Trace system and said a self-isolation support service was being set up by the Greater Manchester Growth Company.

It comes after further 11 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,687, NHS England said on Wednesday.

Patients were aged between 69 and 98 and all had known underlying health conditions.

The dates of the deaths were between September 11 and September 15, with the majority on September 14.

Five other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.