Oldham on brink of full lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

“The first thing that we’ve said to the Health Secretary is that we don’t believe that it would be right to see the further relaxation with regard to the opening of a range of additional business premises this weekend or in the near future,” the Mayor said.

Rather than imposing draconian new rules on certain boroughs, he argued in favour of targeted enforcement against pubs, restaurants and supermarkets failing to follow the guidance.

Speaking during a weekly press briefing, he said: “We need to see the pubs, particularly, implementing the measures, capturing people’s names and addresses, so we can then make sure that the test and trace system is working as well as it should do.

“The message goes out to colleagues in the pub industry – we need you to get more serious about this. We need your support, and we need it now.”

He also said he would be writing to the major supermarkets to call for a stricter approach to enforcing the wearing of face coverings in stores.

Sir Richard said the vast majority of those testing positive for coronavirus in Greater Manchester were now either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, so hospital admissions were “minimal”.

It is also feared Northampton could face a local lockdown after almost 300 sandwich factory workers tested positive for coronavirus. 

There have been 70 confirmed cases in the region in the past week, and council leader Jonathan Nunn said the situation “could go either way”.

Mr Nunn said it was “not certain” whether the region would enter restrictions, saying: “It is still within our grasp to avoid local lockdown, but we have got to keep the pressure up. I’m afraid we have to keep our foot on the gas and keep going. We have to continue all these initiatives. Whatever you have heard is a good precaution, just keep doing it.”

Meanwhile, Leicester City Council revealed that it had spent £120,000 of central Government funding to buy tens of thousands of face masks for its most vulnerable residents. All 15,000 people in Leicester classed as clinically extremely vulnerable will receive a packet of two face coverings in the post, while local voluntary sector organisations will also receive a supply.

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