UK coronavirus LIVE: Tier 3 lockdown imposed on Greater Manchester after Andy Burnham accuses Government of 'walking away' from talks

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  • October 20, 2020
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Greater Manchester will enter Tier 3 lockdown measures within days, the Prime Minister confirmed, after talks over a financial support package for the region broke down.

Boris Johnson‘s announcement came after the city’s mayor Andy Burnham accused the Government of “walking away” from the negotiations.

On Tuesday the Department of Health reported a further 241 coronavirus deaths in the UK, the highest daily toll since June 5.

More than 21,000 new cases were also reported.

Follow our live updates below..

Live Updates


Professor Jonathan Van-Tam says he expected the upward trend in coronavirus deaths to continue to climb

His comments came after the Government announced a further 241 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, the highest daily figure reported since 258 deaths were reported on June 5

“Part of that surge in deaths is related to the weekly pattern of slightly lower figures at the weekend, and then a kind of catch-up earlier in the week,” he said at a Downing Street press briefing.

“But overall is the trend upwards? Yes.

“Do I expect the trend in deaths to continue upwards? Yes, unfortunately I do.”


Professor Van-Tam stresses importance of “compliance”

Asked whether Tier 3 measures would be enough to bring infection rates down, deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said: “The nationally published Tier 3 measures are the minimum national standard for hard measures but there are other things that local authorities can consider on top and I hope some do.

“What is really important is compliance. Everybody needs to accept that this is not a good place to be if you’re in Tier 3, but to get behind it and try and get the rate of disease falling so that R in that area is falling so that the pressure comes off the health service.”


The Prime Minister said the Government is looking to review restrictions in care homes to allow people to visit their families

In response to a question by a member of the public – Vicky from Lancashire, who has only seen her grandmother once since March – Boris Johnson told a press briefing at Downing Street: “We do have to prevent the spread of the virus in care homes; you’ll remember what happened in the early part of the year, so we have had to take some steps to protect elderly residents from the possibility of infection by visitors.

“But we are certainly looking at what we can do to review the circumstances that might allow people to visit their elderly relatives in extreme circumstances and on compassionate grounds.”

Deputy chief medical officer for England Professor Jonathan Van-Tam added: “This is really extremely distressing, for relatives and for people living in care homes.

“But the unfortunate and horrible truth about this virus is that when it gets into care homes it can inflict really massive mortality very quickly.”

On testing in care homes, he said: “I’m hoping that some of the pilots, with rapid and novel testing methods, will eventually lead to a breakthrough so that we can be more relaxed about visiting residents and our families in care homes in a much safer way. For now it is a very difficult situation.”


Boris Johnson says he hopes northern leaders will work with the Government to implement tier 3 restrictions

He said: “Despite the failure to reach an agreement I hope the mayor and council leaders in Greater Manchester will now work with us to implement these measures.”

He confirmed that conversations are ongoing with leaders in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the North East about the possibility of moving to the very high alert level and said: “I hope and expect central and local government will continue to work closely together.

“Ultimately all of us want to protect the NHS and in doing so to save lives.”


The Prime Minister was asked how many areas would need to be under the highest tier of restrictions before a national lockdown is imposed

In response to the question by a member of the public – Jake from Chester – Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press briefing: “What we are trying to avoid is a national lockdown at all.

“We don’t rule anything out but the difficulty is that the distribution of the virus this time round is very uneven by comparison with March and April.

“And so the right response is, as many other countries are doing, to go to this local and regional approach.”


PM says we “have to act”

When asked what he would say to GM Mayor Andy Burnham, Boris Johnson said: “I bitterly regret any restrictions that lead to damage to businesses and people’s lives.

“Nobody wants to be putting people in Greater Manchester, or anywhere, through this experience. And frankly, Andy Burnham is right in what he says about the length of endurance Greater Manchester has shown.

“I have simply got to look at the data and alas the number of deaths and we have to act.”

He added: “The funds are there, they are massive. What we couldn’t do was do a deal with Greater Manchester that would have been out of kilter with the deals we’ve already reached with Merseyside and Greater Lancashire.”


PM says he regrets that an agreement wasn’t reached with northern leaders

“Unfortunately agreement wasn’t reached and I do regret this,” said Mr Johnson.

“We would have a better chance of defeating this virus if we worked together.”


Greater Manchester will receive £22 million in support, says PM

The Prime Minister said the £22 was in addition to the £1 billion of funding already made available to local authorities.


Boris Johnson announces Greater Manchester will move to tier 3 restrictions

Regulations will come into force just after midnight.

He said: “Pubs and bars must close and households cannot mix indoors.”


Professor Van-Tam presents heat maps for positive Covid-19 cases for Greater Manchester

He said: “You can see across the sub-regions of Greater Manchester there are really very significant areas of heat across pretty much all of the ages.”


Weekly Covid-19 hospital admission rates have increased for older age groups

Professor Van-Tam showed a graph which demonstrated that hospital admission rates for people aged over 75 and 65 to 84 have significantly increased this month.


Jonathan Van Tam starts press briefing by providing updates on the spread of coronavirus in the UK

He said it was the age category of over 60s that the Government is most concerned about.

“The infections which have seeded in younger groups are now penetrating those older age groups as we go forward in time,” he said.


During the press conference, Mr Burnham was shown a message saying £22 million would be given to the region and restrictions would come into force on Friday

He said: “It’s brutal, to be honest. This is no way to run a country in a national crisis.

“It’s not right, they should not be doing this.”


Mr Burnham accused the Government of playing poker with people’s jobs

He said: “But if the Government put £60 million on the table, I mean, surely, if they are taking that off again, is that a game of poker? Are they playing poker with places? And people’s lives through a pandemic? Is that what this is about?

“Are they piling pressure on people to accept the lowest figure that they can get away with? Is that what this is about?”

He added: “Is this a Government committed to levelling up this country? What we have seen today is a deliberate act of levelling down.”



Coronavirus cases in the UK rise by more than 21,000

The Government said that, as of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 21,330 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 762,542.

The Government also said a further 241 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, as of Tuesday. This brings the UK total to 43,967.

It is the highest daily figure reported since 258 deaths were reported on June 5 but there is often a delay in the reporting of deaths over a weekend.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have now been 59,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.


The leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said local leaders twice thought they had an agreement with the Government on a financial support package, only to be let down

“In the discussions we have had over the last couple of days we have thought twice they were going to be able to meet us in being able to support that package,” he told a news conference with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

“Twice when it has got to the end of the day they have let us down and they are letting the people of Manchester down.”

Sir Richard said they had still not seen anything in writing from the Government on what conditions it was seeking to attach to any additional funding.

“Even the money that they were talking about we still have no idea what conditions they would attach to that money,” he said.


Burnham accuses Government of ‘walking away’ over Tier 3 talks

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said £65 million was the minimum sum needed to prevent a “winter of real hardship” under Tier 3 restrictions but the Government refused to accept this and walked away from negotiations.

Discussions were still taking place between Mr Burnham and Boris Johnson this afternoon after the Government’s midday deadline passed.

Read more here…


Mr Burnham finishes his speech by directly addressing the people of Greater Manchester

He said: “We know this is going to be a difficult time for you, but together with the leaders behind me, we took this stand for you.

“We will carry on fighting for you, we will carry on putting your health first, but health is more than the virus.

“Tough days lie ahead and please everybody observe the law at all times and above all else, please look out for each other.”