Burnham: Tougher lockdown restrictions not needed if people follow rules

Andy Burnham has said that Greater Manchester Police dealt with over a 1000 lockdown breaches last week. Credit: PA

Coronavirus restrictions should not need toughening in Greater Manchester as long as people follow the rules, mayor Andy Burnham has said.

Speaking at his weekly press briefing, Mr Burnham said the current restrictions were "sufficient", although he did not rule out calling for tougher measures in the future.

He said over the last week Greater Manchester Police had 1,131 reports of Covid-related breaches, with 623 of those related to house parties or gatherings, 53 to other forms of gathering in the home and 89 to gatherings outside or in other places.

He also urged people to report any concerns about workplaces, after 8% of people who responded to a Greater Manchester survey said they did not think their employer was offering a safe working environment.

A survey taken by Greater Manchester Combined Authority found that 8% of people don't feel safe at work. Credit: Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Asked if he agreed with calls by London mayor Sadiq Khan for tougher coronavirus measures, Mr Burnham said: "I think there's a difference between what is happening in London and possibly in Greater Manchester.

"I fully understand why Sadiq is saying what he is saying because the increase in cases there in the last few weeks is huge and the pressure on hospitals is even greater than it is here.

"We are in a different position but perhaps we're only a couple of weeks behind London and perhaps we'll soon be experiencing something of the same.

"However, I think because of the timing of the national lockdown, it is possible we won't see the same pressure that we're seeing in London."

He added: "The key for us is adherence to current regulations in Greater Manchester. We still are seeing too many breaches and have to ask again for people to follow rules at all times.

"If they did that, that would lead to a reduction of the pressure on the hospital system.

"At this moment in time, I think the current regulations are sufficient for Greater Manchester if people, of course, follow them."

Manchester council leader Sir Richard Leese said hospitals in the area were not "falling over" but the pressures on them were "growing all the time".

He said: "That message to the small minority who are putting lots of people are risk - we are really now very much in, I think, the worst crisis we've been through the whole Covid situation."