Closures are not possible without more power and money, local councils warn | Society

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Councils in areas at increased risk of coronavirus epidemics have warned that they have neither the powers nor the resources to enforce local closures, although the government insists that the infrastructure is in place to facing regional surges.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week that the government plans to increasingly target the source of the epidemics with local blockages. But the councils of the regions where the latest estimates indicate the virus may start to spread again told Observer they are not able to order people to stay at home.

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Modeling by Public Health England and Cambridge University reveals that the rate of reproduction [R number] of the virus in the northwest has reached 1.1, which could mean that the number of new infections is increasing in the region. The Blackburn and Darwen board, which operates 85 schools in Lancashire, contacted the chiefs this weekend advising them not to reopen Monday due to concerns about the local R rate. Many have now contacted parents to tell them that they will keep their doors closed to everyone except the children of key workers.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said the government had eased the restrictions too soon without a fully operational test and trace system in place. “It is very disturbing,” he said. “There has been a significant increase [in the R rate]. It is going in the wrong direction. ”

However, he said councils would not be able to ask residents of Greater Manchester, where there are over 10,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, to stay at home without a local leave program to ensure that families had enough to live on. “You can’t just tell people in a designated area” you can’t go to work “. Many people would not be able to afford it, “he said. “This is just one of the implications of a local foreclosure policy. We need clear answers quickly. All the government has done is launch an idea without the details that go with it. “

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