[ENT] Covid: Fresh Greater Manchester Tier Talks Arranged

Talks to resolve a row over Covid-19 restrictions in Greater Manchester will resume on Sunday, Downing Street says.

No 10 told the BBC it had “reached out” to arrange a call with the region’s mayor, Andy Burnham, on Saturday.

Local leaders have hit a stalemate with the UK government over Manchester’s possible move up to the strictest tier of Covid rules – with the PM saying he would “intervene” if needed.

It comes as tighter rules kicked in for millions of people in England.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that infection rates in Greater Manchester were “grave” and added: “Each day that passes before action is taken means more people will go to hospital, more people will end up in intensive care and tragically more people will die.”

Mr Burnham and other local leaders are resisting a move from tier two to tier three’s strict rules on hospitality – pressing instead for more shielding measures for the vulnerable, extra financial aid and stricter local powers to shut down venues breaking virus guidelines.

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“We firmly believe that protecting health is about more than controlling the virus and requires proper support for people whose lives would be severely affected by a tier three lockdown,” the deputy mayors and council leaders said in a joint statement on Friday.

More than half of England – in excess of 28 million people – is now under extra coronavirus restrictions, as areas have moved up the new three-tier alert system.

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Lancashire has joined the Liverpool City Region in the top tier – tier three. Pubs have closed and households cannot mix indoors or in many outdoor settings.

London, Essex, York, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield have moved into tier two, meaning they can no longer mix inside with those from other households, including in pubs and restaurants.

Areas of England in the lowest tier must keep to the nationwide virus rules such as group sizes being capped at six people, and the hospitality industry closing at 22:00.

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Analysis by BBC News

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