GREATER Manchester has been put into Tier 3 lockdown by the government following a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The “very high” alert level, also known as Tier 3, begins today (Friday). It means places like pubs and leisure centres have to close and people are advised not to leave the area.
Unless they are in a support bubble, households are not allowed to meet up with other households. However, schools, universities and places like shops on the high-street will be allowed to stay open.
Greater Manchester joins Liverpool and Lancashire in the very highest level of restrictions.
As the pandemic carries on, views about how to deal with it are becoming more divided. Generally people are talking about the balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods. Those who argue against lockdown say thousands of people losing their jobs, businesses going bust and worsening mental health are all too high a price to pay.
But Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, has called for a “circuit breaker” – in effect a national lockdown across England. He thinks a short lockdown of two to three weeks would bring the virus under control. He said local lockdowns were not working and another course was needed to prevent a “sleepwalk into… a bleak winter”.
Meanwhile, Wales brought in a two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown, which is a shorter version of the lockdown introduced in March and has similar rules – closing all pubs, bars and restaurants, gyms, and non-essential shops, and stopping people from socialising.
Schools have been shut until the half-term break, re-opening after the lockdown has ended. Wales’ First Minister Mark Drayford said it was “a short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and buy us more time”.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said that there’s no plan to bring in a similar lockdown to Scotland just yet – but all options are being looked at.
Last week, Northern Ireland became the first country to introduce a second lockdown, closing bars and restaurants (except for takeaways), stopping indoor amateur sports, shutting close-contact services such as hairdressing, and extending the half-term school holiday to two weeks.