Manchester’s Covid-19 hospital capacity ‘overwhelmed by November 12’ warns Govt

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Greater Manchester's intensive care capacity could be overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases by November 12, Downing Street said on Monday.

The warning comes as the Government increases pressure on the region to accept Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

Local authorities have refused to implement the harsher measures, which include closing pubs and bars, until they receive more financial support.

Mayor Andy Burnham yesterday said the number of coronavirus cases in Greater Manchester as a whole is only up 3% week on week, which suggests infections are levelling out.

Manchester's current infection rate is 432.5 per 100,000 people, down from its peak of 583.5 in the seven days to October 3.

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He also accused the Prime Minister of having engaged in an "exaggeration" of the severity of Covid-19 in the region on the Andrew Marr Show.

On Friday Boris Johnson had warned he would intervene and impose tougher restrictions on the region as cases had "doubled in the past nine days".

Local leaders across the regions most affected by the second wave of coronavirus infections have clashed with Whitehall in recent weeks, challenging the Government's evidence for closing pubs and restaurants in Tier 3 areas.

They say closing these establishments down once more would deal a fatal blow to much of the local economy.

In a statement earlier in the week with leaders across Greater Manchester, Mr Burnham said: "We communicated our clear and unanimous view to the Government: it is wrong to place some of the poorest parts of England in a punishing lockdown without proper support for the people and businesses affected.

"To do so will result in certain hardship, job losses and business failure. It will cause harm in a different way – to people's mental health – and is not certain to control the virus."

Mr Burnham, along with North Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, are calling for an 80% furlough scheme for everyone affected by regional lockdowns.

In a joint statement they said: "Paying two-thirds of salaries will not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands – it should at least match the 80% that was available under furlough, with the minimum wage as the minimum support.

"The Universal Credit top-up is not the answer. It doesn't help everybody and takes weeks to come through. It will not prevent severe hardship for thousands of low-paid workers before Christmas."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has introduced a scheme for people who cannot work because their workplace is shut by Covid-19 restrictions, but it's less generous than the furlough scheme and pays just 67% of wages.

  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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