COVID-19: Outrage over “stealth local lockdowns” in Indian variant hotspots

COVID-19: Outrage over “stealth local lockdowns” in Indian variant hotspots

The vaccine minister has defended changing travel advice for parts of England hardest hit by India’s COVID variant, after Labor accused the government of imposing local lockdowns ‘by stealth’.

Ministers have been criticized for creating “confusion and uncertainty” after people were urged to restrict their social interactions and avoid non-essential travel in and out of eight areas where the news COVID-19[feminine[feminine worrisome variant is spreading.

The government coronavirus The restrictions website changed its guidelines in the past few days for people living in the regions, with health chiefs saying they had not been consulted or notified of the move.

COVID live updates as new guidance released for eight areas with Indian variant

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COVID hotspot guidance does not “come out of the blue”

The local authority areas to which the new council applies are: Bedford Council, Blackburn Council with Darwen Council, Bolton Metropolitan Council, Burnley Council, Kirklees Council, Leicester Council , Hounslow Council and North Tyneside Council.

But Leicester’s director of public health said the government confirmed to him on Tuesday that advice suggesting people cannot travel in or out of the eight zones was “incorrect”.

Professor Ivan Browne, who had a meeting with government officials, said: “These officials have confirmed that there are no restrictions on travel within or outside each of our regions. and that it was a mistake to suggest that it was.

“There is no local lockdown and there is no justification for Leicester to be treated any differently from the rest of the country. “

Amid a row over the new guidelines released without any widespread announcements, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused the government of imposing the new rules “stealthily”.

Mr Ashworth had asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock to answer his urgent question about the new rules, but instead Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi was there to answer.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Ashworth said: ‘Can he understand how upsetting, insulting it is to have new restrictions imposed, stealthy local lockdowns, through the backdoor, and the secretary state does not. t even appear? “

Mr Zahawi declined to answer his specific questions on whether weddings and stays can take place this weekend in these areas, or if students can go home or if people can visit the greats. -parents from these regions.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi refused to be swayed by the announcement of new local rules

The Vaccine Minister said people should meet other households outside, move the company two meters away, and avoid traveling in or out of these areas unless it is necessary – for work or life. ‘education.

“People can visit their families if they follow social distancing guidelines,” he added.

His advice follows that of the government website, which says, “In the areas listed… whenever possible, you should try to meet outdoors rather than indoors when possible; stay 2 meters away from people you don’t live with (unless you’ve formed a supportive bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with; Avoid traveling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or for education. ”

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Bolton MP ‘amazed’ by advice from COVID hotspot

Yasmin Qureshi, Labor MP for Bolton South East, said: “I am just stunned. They are making such an important announcement and they do not even have the decency to tell us or to tell our constituents. “

The emergency department at Royal Bolton Hospital had one of its busiest days on Monday, said Andy Ennis, Chief Operating Officer of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

He said doctors were seeing “more people in need of hospital treatment because of the effects of COVID-19”, with 41 patients hospitalized on Tuesday, eight of whom are in intensive care.

Blackburn and Darwen Council public health director Dominic Harrison said local officials in affected areas “have not been consulted, warned, notified or alerted to these directions.”

Kate Hollern, Labor MP for Blackburn, described the additional advice as ‘back door lockdown-lite’.

Newly elected West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin suggested the new council could cause “anxiety and confusion”.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the government to “clarify quickly” and said “local lockdowns are the wrong approach for both public health and local economies”.

“Making a major change that will impact so many people without even telling them is utter shame,” he posted on Twitter.

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Kate praises nurses’ ‘huge sacrifices’

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the coronavirus, urged Hancock to make a public statement in parliament to provide “urgent clarification” on the new local restrictions.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham called on a minister to make a public statement on the changes, determine whether schoolchildren in the eight regions should not wear face masks and said local locks were not working, they would need therefore make it clear whether the UK continues to do so. not impose them.

And the leader of the Bolton Council said after speaking with the government, the PHE and the NHS, “there are no additional restrictions coming to Bolton, there are no local lockdowns”.

Cabinet Minister Therese Coffey told Sky News the government had “worked in close contact” with the affected areas and she was “surprised to hear that people think it came out of nowhere – it didn’t ‘is not the case.

“It’s just part of a coordinated effort and the counseling is just a formality recognizing that people need to be extremely careful in communities especially where the problem has spread,” she added.

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Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen and Bedford currently have the three worst two-week infection rates in the country, according to Sky News analysis. They also have the fastest growth rates.

As of Monday evening, none of the eight authorities appeared on their own website to advise residents to avoid traveling in or out of their commune.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Welfare (DHSC) said: “Together with local authorities, we have taken swift and decisive action to slow the spread of variant B.1.617.2 by introducing overvoltage tests and providing second doses of the vaccine for the most vulnerable.

“We provided additional guidance to people living in affected areas when we became aware of the risk posed by the variant, to encourage people to take an extremely careful approach when meeting other people or traveling. “

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Matt Hancock says 49 cases have been identified of the new ‘Yorkshire variant’

Sky News understands that the latest guidance was provided for Bolton on May 14, and the other seven areas were added as new data became available.

The easing of restrictions across England on May 17 still apply in these areas, but DHSC believes it is necessary to continue to exercise caution to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Last week, Mr Hancock did not rule out imposing a local lockdown restrictions in places most affected by the Indian variant.


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