Tag: restrictions

Government accused of treating the North ‘like a petri dish’ for local lockdowns as tougher restrictions are considered

Watch: Johnson expected to order pubs to shut in the north of England





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The government is treating the North “like a petri dish” for local lockdown experiments as harsher restrictions are considered, the mayor of the Liverpool City Region has said.

With coronavirus cases continuing to rise across the North of England and current local lockdown measures failing to stop the increase, the government is considering tightening measures only weeks after introducing new ones.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham told GMB: “What we’ve seen is an ever-widening North-South divide in measures being taken.

“Quite simply the North should not be a petri dish for experimentation by central government.”

Politicians across the North have criticised the Government over plans to close pubs and restaurants next week to tackle rising coronavirus cases.

The proposals, which have not been confirmed, appeared on the front pages of The Times, Telegraph and Sun newspapers, provoking an angry response from opposition MPs and Labour elected mayors.

Read more: Hospital suspends all non-emergency surgery for 48 hours following COVID-19 outbreak



a group of people standing in front of a building: City Region Mayors attacked the plans over closing pubs and restaurants so soon after new measures were brought in. (PA)


City Region Mayors attacked the plans over closing pubs and restaurants so soon after new measures were brought in. (PA)

Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and large parts of the North are currently under local lockdowns, limiting visits to other people’s households, while pubs have to close at 10pm nationally.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: “No discussion. No consultation. Millions of lives affected by Whitehall diktat. It is proving impossible to deal with this Government.”

Dan Jarvis, Sheffield City Region mayor and Barnsley Central MP, wrote on Twitter: “Recklessly irresponsible to brief the papers but not leaders in the North who’ll somehow have to make this work. Get a grip”.

Sheffield is not currently under local lockdown but is on receiving enhanced support from the government and cases have soared to over 200 per 100,000 in recent weeks, mainly driven by the return of students.

Rotheram said: “It is deeply disappointing to wake up this morning to reports that new Covid-19 restrictions affecting millions of people in our city region, and across the North, could be in place within days, rather than hearing it during a genuine dialogue between ministers and local leaders.

“At the moment we have a patchwork of local measures across the country and too much confusion for the public as a result.”

Read more: Coronavirus infections soar by 56% in a week as test and trace fails to hit targets

Rotheram said extra funding for affected areas would be needed saying the government provided support at the start of lockdown in March and they would need to again if measures were tightened.

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell, Manchester Central MP, tweeted: “Let’s remember infections still largely occurring: inside households, then in education (mainly university) settings then health/care settings, then workplaces. In that order. Only then (and

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Madrid must impose travel restrictions or face state of emergency, Spanish government says

MADRID (Reuters) – Madrid must enforce travel restrictions ordered by the health ministry to limit novel coronavirus outbreaks or the national government will impose a state of emergency that would force it to comply, the government said late on Thursday.

The government will hold an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday morning to decree the state of emergency if Madrid does not impose the restrictions or request intervention, the government said.

Following a Health Ministry order, Madrid authorities reluctantly barred all non essential travel to and from the city and nine surrounding towns last Friday to curb the spread of COVID-19 in one of Europe’s worst virus hotspots. [nL8N2GZ2PQ][nL8N2GW30R]

A Madrid regional court on Thursday annulled the measures ordered by the national health ministry, ruling the government had overstepped its mandate and the restrictions interfered with fundamental human rights.

Declaring a state of emergency – the same legal framework that underpinned Spain’s tough lockdown during the first wave of the virus – would grant the national government the powers to restrict movement.

According to a government statement, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Madrid’s conservative regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso that she must either enforce the restrictions, request a state of emergency or the central government would unilaterally impose one.

“In any of the three cases the measures would be exactly the same as those already being applied, the only thing that would change would be the legal instrument,” the government said.

Ayuso said regional officials would discuss alternatives on Friday morning.

“We hope to agree on a solution that benefits citizens and provides clarity,” she said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño; editing by Grant McCool)

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UK government mulling fresh restrictions amid virus spike

The British government is mulling fresh restrictions on everyday life in England amid mounting evidence that the measures so far have done little to keep a lid on new coronavirus infections

With the number of people needing to go to hospital with virus-related conditions rising, and in some areas in the north of England alarmingly so, the pressure on the government to do more is mounting.

“We are currently considering what steps we should take, obviously taking the advice of our scientific and medical advisers, and a decision will be made shortly,” British Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC on Thursday.

“In some parts of the country, the number of cases are rising very fast and we are taking that very seriously,” he added.

As elsewhere in Europe, restrictions have been reimposed in the U.K over the past few weeks. following a spike in new coronavirus infections. On top of national restrictions, there are many local measures, largely relating to the number of people allowed to gather.

However, there is growing evidence to show that those areas that have seen additional restrictions have not experienced a slowdown in the epidemic. In some areas, the number of new infections is 10 times higher than when the localized restrictions were announced.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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Middlesbrough mayor vows to defy government over new Covid restrictions

Video: Middlesborough Mayor: ‘They are unacceptable’ (Sky News)

Middlesborough Mayor: ‘They are unacceptable’

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More than 2 million people in Merseyside, Warrington and Teesside will be banned by law from mixing with other households indoors in the latest extension of lockdown restrictions, as Middlesbrough’s mayor took the extraordinary step of saying he was prepared to defy the government.



a group of people playing instruments and performing on a stage: Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty


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Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty



a group of people playing instruments and performing on a stage: Pubs and restaurants in Liverpool account for half the business rates paid in the city.


© Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty
Pubs and restaurants in Liverpool account for half the business rates paid in the city.

The measures were announced as coronavirus cases continued to rise sharply in the north-west and north-east of England.

The new rules mean it will be illegal from Saturday for nearly 5 million people in those regions to meet others they do not live with in all indoor settings, including pubs, bars and restaurants. Similar rules came into force elsewhere in the north-east earlier this week.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “I understand how much of an imposition this is. I want rules like this to stay in place for as short a time as possible, I’m sure we all do.

“The study published today shows us hope that together we can crack this, and the more people follow the rules and reduce their social contact, the quicker we can get Liverpool and the north-east back on their feet.”

There was an immediate backlash from local leaders, who said the £7m financial support for local authorities was “a drop in the ocean”. Middlesbrough’s mayor took the extraordinary step of saying he rejected the new measures and was prepared to defy the government.

Andy Preston, the independent mayor of Middlesbrough council, said his authority and Hartlepool council had asked for a ban on households mixing in their own homes, but that the government’s measures went much further. They were based on “factual inaccuracies and a monstrous and frightening lack of communication, and ignorance”, he said. “As things stand, we defy the government and we do not accept these measures.”

He later said he would not condone anyone disobeying the new law, the BBC reported.

Mike Hill, the Labour MP for Hartlepool, said he was “totally angered” by the government’s “absolutely disgraceful one-size-fits-all approach”.

The restrictions also caution against all but essential travel on public transport and attendance at amateur or professional sports events. Visits to care homes should only take place in exceptional circumstances.

Merseyside’s 14 Labour MPs, six council leaders and the mayor of the Liverpool city region, Steve Rotheram, said they welcomed the action being taken, but questioned whether it was enough to contain the virus.

They said they were seeking urgent talks with the government to understand the scientific evidence behind the restrictions and to plead for a significant cash injection to prevent economic disaster.

Liverpool council estimates that its budget deficit is £45.6m in a best-case scenario because of coronavirus, rising to £66m in a worst-case scenario.

Liverpool’s mayor, Joe Anderson, said he recognised that the infection rate

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