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. “
Burnham added that he would only consider such action if all else had failed and the ministers had demonstrated that they were not trying to pass the ball. “I would have to be convinced that this is not only a lazy way for the national government to blame its problems on the local government,” he said. ”
The other part of England where the rate of viral infection increases is the south-west. Although it has the lowest number of cases in the country, the team from PHE and the University of Cambridge has calculated that it could currently have a reproduction rate of one.
The North Somerset Council recently experienced an outbreak of infections following an epidemic at Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare, although PHE analysis suggests that it has not spread to the community at large. Hancock said twice on Friday that a successful local lockout had been put in place in the seaside town in the “past few weeks”. But Mike Bell, the deputy head of the board, said Hancock was misleading because only the hospital was closed, with new patients being sent elsewhere since May 25. “What most people understand by local or regional lockdown is that we are going back to the days when we couldn’t go out and we couldn’t travel freely. It absolutely did not happen in Weston-super-Mare, “he said.
He added that he did not have the power to impose a local foreclosure in the city if it became necessary. “When it comes to forcing people to stay at home, forcing businesses to close, we don’t have the power to do it,” he said.
Bristol’s deputy mayor Asher Craig said the council would be ready to lock the city if the threat increased significantly. Despite an increasing R rate, Bristol has a lower than average number of cases, with 153 infections per 100,000 population. “If it gets worse, we will have to lock it in,” she said. But she added that the city did not have the necessary powers and faced a growing deficit amid declining revenues.
Sunderland has the highest infection rate in the country, with 448 cases per 100,000 people. Although the latest reproductive rate suggests that the virus is starting to recede in the North East and Yorkshire, many fear a resurgence. Chief executive Graeme Miller said, “How can we open up society when this infection rate is so stubbornly high across the country? “