Andy Burnham: Lockdown changes ‘too soon’ for North West

Friday, May 15, 2020

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said the government’s changes to coronavirus lockdown rules were too early for northern parts of the country.

Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, he said: “I personally think, we did rush change on Sunday night because it did come a little too soon for certainly the north west of England.”

The Labour Mayor said transport was an example for how his region was not ready for the easing of restrictions.

“We haven’t yet been given the funding to run transport service properly so people have been encouraged to return to work but we aren’t able to put on the extra trams and buses to carry them safely to work, and that’s just a very practical example of how this thing has been rushed,” he said.

His comments come as Public Health England and Cambridge University reported that the Covid-19 R rate, the rate of infection, was at different points across the regions.

Boris Johnson has said the R rate must stay below 1.0 in order to keep gradually easing social distancing measures in the coming months.

The data showed that London, once the epicentre of the outbreak, has an R rate of 0.4, the lowest in the country, whereas the rate is double that in the North East and Yorkshire.

The North West is currently showing an R Rate of 0.73, according to the analysis.

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