Andy Burnham calls on Government not to bring in "knee jerk" lockdown measures

Andy Burnham has called for a more "considered" approach to rising coronavirus cases in Oldham. Credit: PA

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has called on the Government not to bring in "knee-jerk measures" as coronavirus cases continue to rise in some boroughs.

Mr Burnham said he did not want to see a full lockdown in Oldham, where the rate of infections is the highest in the country.

But he said that he and Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese had written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock to ask that there was no further easing of restrictions in the city region this weekend.

Extra restrictions on socialising between households were introduced in Greater Manchester, as well as parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, at the end of July following a spike in cases.

Earlier this week, Oldham council leaders warned residents to act to avoid a local lockdown such as the one imposed in Leicester being brought in.

There have been new restrictions imposed in Greater Manchester after a rise in coronavirus cases. Credit: PA

Speaking at a weekly media briefing on Thursday, Mr Burnham said: "What worked in Leicester is not necessarily going to be right for Greater Manchester, given the interconnected nature of the city region, and I think we're going to have to have a very considered approach to this rather than crude measures which become further divisive among different communities and different boroughs.

"We need to be proportionate, targeted and focus on measures that are going to work.

"That is the thrust of the letter we have sent to Government today - no knee-jerk measures but work with us to get whatever interventions we do right and obviously make them as effective as possible."

He said a full lockdown could cause "serious difficulties" for people living in the region.

Mr Burnham said he had asked Mr Hancock not to allow the reopening of businesses such as casinos and ice rinks, which had been due to take place this weekend, in Greater Manchester.

"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," he said.

The mayor said there would be targeted enforcement against pubs, restaurants and supermarkets not following guidance.

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 either asymptomatic or had a low level of symptoms, so hospital admissions were continuing to fall.

He said rates had dropped in Salford, Trafford and Wigan.