82,371 North West cases and what Boris Johnson could announce tomorrow

Coronavirus cases across the North West increased by 1,816 in the last 24 hours, official Government figures show.

The total across Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire now stands at 82,371 since the start of the pandemic – up from 80,555 yesterday.

It has also jumped by 28,994 since the start of September, leading to most areas in the region subjected to extra lockdown restrictions.

Boris Johnson will lead a press conference tomorrow (September 30) to update the nation on the battle against Covid-19.

It comes as Lancashire’s three directors of public health warned Lancashire is likely to follow the North East into a full social lockdown if households keep mixing and the infection rates keeping rising.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said he believes the city’s coronavirus infection rate is now out of control and that a short-term full lockdown is likely to be the only way to stop the surge.

Meanwhile Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has urged the Government to let Bolton’s pubs and restaurants reopen, pointing to other areas that have higher infection rates but no restrictions on hospitality.

New Public Health England figures released today show Lancashire recorded another 390 new cases since yesterday while Liverpool and Manchester’s tally rose by 205 and 223 respectively. There were also 35 new cases in Cheshire and 84 across both Cheshire authorities.

Burnley has become the first area in the UK since the second wave of coronavirus began to record an infection rate higher than 300 cases per 100,000 in their weekly rolling seven-day rate. It now has the highest rate in England with 313.8.

The North West has nine of the top 10 highest infection rates in the country with Burnley first, Knowsley second, Liverpool third, Halton fifth, Manchester sixth, Pendle seventh, Bolton eighth, St Helens ninth and Hyndburn tenth.

Bury, Preston, Oldham, Sefton, Warrington, Rochdale, Blackburn with Darwen and Wirral all make up the top 10 with a total of 24 local authorities in the North West now having infection rates over 100 cases per 100,000 people.

The data is based on people being tested both through ‘Pillar 1’ – in hospitals – and Pillar 2 – drive-through test centres and swabs sent by post.

No daily figures have been released showing how many tests have been carried out in each area of the North West.

Total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus by North West borough as of Tuesday, September 29:

There are 16,372 cases in Lancashire, 4,690 in Bolton, 2,600 in Bury, 2,916 in Cheshire East, 2,679 in Cheshire West and Chester, 3,532 in Cumbria, 1,380 in Halton, 2,007 in Knowsley, 5,924 in Liverpool, 7,249 in Manchester, 4,182 in Oldham, 3,302 in Rochdale, 3,036 in Salford, 2,766 in Sefton, 2,162 in St Helens, 2,693 in Stockport, 2,992 in Tameside, 2,324 in Trafford, 2,381 in Warrington, 3,435 in Wigan and 3,749 in Wirral.

As of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 7,143 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK – the highest daily figure recorded since the outbreak began, although far more tests are being carried out than in the spring.

A further 71 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 42,072 – although separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate in nearly 57,900 cases.

The Prime Minister will be joined at tomorrow’s press conference by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

It is understood that Mr Johnson won’t be making any major announcements and will instead be updating the public on the latest coroanvirus situation.

Here is what Mr Johnson could say, according to our sister title BirminghamLive.

Covid deaths

The briefing is understood to be focused on the latest numbers, rather than an announcement of new lockdown measures.

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales has risen for the second week in a row.

Figures released show that the number of deaths involving coronavirus increased in six of the nine English regions.

The North East and London were the only English regions to have fewer overall deaths than the five-year average.

In Wales, the number of deaths involving Covid-19 increased to five deaths in week 38, the week ending September 18, from one death in week 37.

Meanwhile the total number of deaths in week 38 in Wales was 20 fewer deaths than the five-year average.

Questions from public

Members of the public will also be able to ask questions of the Prime Minister, alongside journalists.

No10 launched an appeal for questions from the public on Twitter.

Daily Downing Street press conferences were a major feature of the early stages of the pandemic, but the briefings were scrapped in the summer.

Jobs warning

Mr Johnson has today said “not every job will be the same” after the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked about warnings for retail jobs, the Prime Minister said: “I’m not going to say that any particular sector faces some fatal or mortal change, I think of all kinds of ways sectors will continue to evolve. But there will be change. And not every job will be the same.”

Mr Johnson said: “Before Covid people were already shopping ever more online, were already sending out for food.”

Coronavirus “has compressed that revolution”, he said.

He said: “Let’s imagine that you are 30 years old, you left school without A-levels and you are thinking – you were in retail or hospitality – you could find a job in the wind farm sector in the North East, or in space technology in Newquay or in construction here in Exeter.”

Clarifying local lockdown restrictions

Boris Johnson was asked whether he could clarify the regulations in the North East when it came to pub beer gardens following confusion about the rules.

He said: “In the North East and other areas where extra-tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities but it is six in a home, six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside.”

Universities

Mr Johnson said it was up to universities whether they offer a refund to students forced to self-isolate.

He told the media following a speech on skills opportunities: “As for your question about universities, that’s really a matter for them and their places of education.

“I hope that they can continue to get value from the courses they are being given.”

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Lancs Live – Cumbria