Trafford’s coronavirus infection rate has risen again, the borough’s council leader has said – days before local lockdown restrictions are set to be lifted.
Local leaders asked the government to keep stricter measures in place, but were left furious when secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock announced they would be lifted on Friday (August 28).
From Wednesday, September 1, people will be able to meet with other households indoors and in their gardens once more, while maintaining social distancing.
The same move was announced for Stockport and Bolton. Restrictions in Wigan were lifted earlier this week.
Restrictions are still in place in Tameside, Rochdale, Bury, Salford and Manchester. Oldhamers are living with even tougher measures.
Trafford town hall leader Andrew Western hit out at the decision – as did Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
Coun Western said that while local leaders wanted to ‘see restrictions lifted as soon possible, guided by data and when it is safe to do so’, the consensus was that next week was too early.
He accused the government of ‘making a mockery of local decision making’, adding that two of the three MPs in Trafford were against easing restrictions.
Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter
You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here
The other MP, Sir Graham Brady, who represents Altrincham and Sale West ward and is the influential chairman of the national Conservative Party’s 1922 committee, was in favour of lifting measures across the borough.
There was further controversy on Friday afternoon when it emerged the latest figures showed Trafford’s infection rate had increased.
Yesterday (Saturday), Coun Western said updated Public Health England data for August 21 to 27 showed Trafford’s infection rate had reached 29.1 per 100,000 people.
On Sunday, he said that figure had increased again.
Coun Western tweeted: “I have now received the (still incomplete data so may go up slightly) for August 22 to 28.
“We have sadly increased quite markedly again to 34 cases per 100,000 – more than three times the national average.
“Please stay safe, follow social distance guidance and keep washing your hands.”
Mayor Mr Burnham told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “My main message to the government is you must not impose these things from London when you are going to affect communities in this way, it must be by negotiation and agreement.
“Imposition of decisions like this without agreement or negotiation is absolutely the wrong way to go.
“With the Health Secretary warning of extensive lockdowns throughout the rest of this year, I think communities everywhere should be worried.
“This has to be partnership between national and local government.”