Boris says he will intervene if agreement isn't reached with Greater Manchester

Boris Johnson has warned that he ‘will intervene’ if an agreement is not reached with local leaders to take Manchester into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.

Heaping pressure on metro mayor Andy Burnham, he told a press briefing this afternoon: ‘It’s far from a pain free course of action and it will mean a difficult time for the people of that great part of the country on top of the restrictions they’ve already had to endure since the summer.

‘But I must stress, the situation in Greater Manchester is grave and it worsens with each passing day.’

‘Cases doubled in the last nine days, high infections are creeping up the age range, while cases are 690 per 100,000 for 16-29 year olds. They have now risen to 224 per 100,000 for the over 60s.

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‘The number of covid inpatients in Manchester’s ICU beds is already over 40% of the number at the height of the first wave.

‘That number will inevitably rise further given that hospitalisation occurs two to three weeks after infection.

‘On present trends in just over two weeks there will be more Covid patients in intensive care than at the peak of the first wave. So, I urge the mayor to reconsider and engage constructively.’

He added: ‘I cannot stress enough, time is of the essence. 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.

‘Of course, if agreement cannot be reached, I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester’s hospitals and save the lives of Manchester’s residents.

‘But our efforts will be so much more effective if we work together.

‘Some have argued that we should introduce a national lockdown instead of targeted local action and I disagree.

‘Closing businesses in Cornwall where transmission is low, will not cut transmission in Manchester, so while I can’t rule anything out, if at all possible, I want to avoid another national lockdown with the damaging health economic and social effects it would have.

Alongside our local strategy, we’ve been working throughout to find other ways to supress this virus.’

More follows.

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