Liverpool 'closely monitored' amid fears it could go into lockdown

Liverpool is being ‘closely monitored’ amid fears it could be ‘days away’ from circuit-breaker two-week lockdown as city’s leaders prepare to meet while infection rate soars

  • PM’s spokesman said he’s ‘constantly reviewing’ Merseyside’s Covid restrictions
  • Comes after city’s mayor Joe Anderson called for lockdown to ‘restore normality’
  • But Metro Mayor distanced himself from the idea and said he’d not discussed it 

Number 10 today said it was ‘closely monitoring’ Liverpool’s rising infection rate after its mayor said the city was just ‘days away’ from having to introduce a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said officials are ‘constantly reviewing’ the area’s coronavirus restrictions – after Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson called for a full lockdown to restrict the virus from spreading. 

The weekly infection rate in Liverpool now stands at 258.4 per 100,000 people. It would be the first city to have a two-week lockdown, which could also include parts of the wider region. 

However, at a conference of local leaders this afternoon, Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham distanced himself from Mr Anderson’s call for a two-week lockdown and said he had never discussed this idea with the Government in Westminster. 

Mr Rotherham said he is meeting with all the region’s leaders meeting after the press conference.

The North East was made subject to new restrictions this morning, with people banned from meeting anyone inside unless they are part of their Covid bubble. However this stopped short of a full lockdown that would shut pubs and restaurants. 

The weekly infection rate in Liverpool now stands at 258.4 per 100,000 people. Liverpool would be the first city to have a two-week lockdown

Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, Northumberland and North and South Tyneside will all have to face the new rule outlawing socialising indoors from midnight tonight

Revellers in Liverpool make their way home earlier this week after partying until the 10pm curfew 

At this afternoon’s press conference, leaders in Merseyside welcomed the possibility of stricter coronavirus restrictions but warned that Government funding is needed to avoid a ‘hammer blow’ to the economy.

The region is braced for the introduction of stricter measures as coronavirus cases continue to rise, with a Government decision expected later today.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has called for a ‘circuit breaker’ or stricter lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.

He told The Daily Telegraph last night: ‘For me, it is only a matter of time because the virus isn’t able to be controlled in the city with the restrictions we have now.  

Mr Anderson (pictured) said it was ‘only a matter of time’ before comprehensive lockdown measures were introduced in the north-west city

‘We need a circuit breaker or stricter lockdown to try to stop the virus spreading.

‘If we can have the severest measures of lockdown now, we may arrest the increase and start to bring it down by the end of October, so that in the lead up to Christmas we can get some normality.’

But Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham, when he was asked about this proposal, said that it was not one of the options presented to him in his meeting with Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty on Monday. 

Mr Anderson told Sky News earlier today: ‘We expect some announcements to be made today on whether there are tougher restrictions going to be put in place here in Liverpool, which personally I welcome and think we need, because we have got to try and arrest and restrict this virus from spreading.

‘Our plea though is to make sure that in this local lockdown scenario that Government is introducing that they also make sure there is a sort of local furlough that matches that.’

Bars and restaurants could be forced to shut in Liverpool (pictured: People in the city enjoy a drink outside yesterday) as part of a circuit-breaker lockdown

Official data for Liverpool, with Covid cases from September 21 to 27 broken down by age and sex  

Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram and leaders of Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens, Halton and Knowsley called for the Government to work with them, provide financial support and increase testing capacity.

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara tests positive for coronavirus and is isolating after missing 3-1 Arsenal win 

Liverpool have confirmed that Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for coronavirus and is isolating.

The 29-year-old was absent for Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Monday night and Jurgen Klopp was coy over the problem that kept him out, only saying that he’ll be back after the international break.

Liverpool have confirmed that Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for Covid-19

The club have now announced that he has Covid-19 and has been displaying minor symptoms.

Liverpool first-team doctor, Dr Jim Moxon, said: ‘It is the choice of each individual whether they reveal publicly the outcome of a Covid-19 test.

‘We have followed all the protocols to the letter and Thiago is OK. He will be self-isolating now as per the guidelines and hopefully he’ll be back with us soon.’

Thiago took to Twitter to say ‘time to heal’ while former club Bayern Munich wished him a speedy recovery.

Thiago will miss Liverpool’s match against Aston Villa on Sunday and an international break follows. He should be free to return for Liverpool in their following Premier League match, against Merseyside rivals Everton on October 17.

The north-west of England, particularly the city of Liverpool, has seen numbers of Covid-19 cases rapidly rising in recent weeks.

According to Liverpool City Council, there are currently 1323 cases-per-week diagnosed in the city, compared to 94-per-week on September 1.

A joint statement said: ‘As leaders of the Liverpool City Region, we all understand why further restrictions may be needed to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we represent.

‘Cases are now averaging well over 200 per 100,000 people across our region – in some boroughs, much higher.

‘Throughout the pandemic, we have always put the health of our residents first and we will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep as many people as possible safe.

‘However, at the same time, we must be clear that any further restrictions will deal a hammer blow to our economy.’

The statement said that in the last six months the local authorities and combined authority had incurred losses of £350 million in costs and lost income.

It said: ‘We are already at breaking point. With new restrictions – and who knows for how long they might be needed – our economy and public services may collapse.’ 

It came as students at Liverpool John Moores University’s campus were filmed taking part in a huge booze-fuelled rave in an accommodation hall. 

A group of students – some standing on furniture – were seen crowding together inside the university’s Cambridge Court halls as they danced and sang along to Dizzee Rascal song Bonkers. 

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said today: ‘Public Health England, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and NHS Test and Trace are constantly monitoring the levels of infections and other data on the prevalence of the virus across the country.

‘They have been closely monitoring the prevalence of the virus in Liverpool and Merseyside.

‘The measures that we have in place are kept under constant review and if changes are required to protect local people and protect the NHS these will be set out by the Department of Health and Social Care.’

A further 52 coronavirus deaths were announced in the UK’s early count this afternoon, with 43 in England, seven in Scotland, one in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.

The numbers add to evidence that the death count is continuing to grow as cases surge, but the daily average remains 95 per cent lower than it was at the peak.       

In a separate intervention today, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham 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.

He tweeted: ‘This is the problem with local restrictions. Once they’re in, they tend to stay in. And the longer they’re in, the more the anomalies/injustices grow.

‘Either Ministers close hospitality in places with high cases with compensation. Or let Bolton’s open today. It’s that simple.’  

Liverpool John Moores University’s campus has remained quarantine-free, despite footage of a huge booze-fuelled rave in an accommodation hall surfacing today

Revealed: All the areas of England, Scotland and Wales that have been hit by tougher local restrictions because of a spike in Covid-19 cases 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma blames ‘gotcha’ questions for the PM bungling his OWN North East lockdown policies as Tories rage that even he can’t ‘keep up’ with the rules 

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor for MailOnline  

Boris Johnson’s allies were accused of excusing ‘incompetence’ today after ‘gotcha’ were blamed for his bungle over coronavirus lockdown policies.

The PM faced a welter of ridicule after embarrassingly getting muddled yesterday about the draconian rules imposed on households mixing in the North East.

The blunder elicited a rare apology from Mr Johnson, who admitted he had ‘misspoken’ by suggesting different households could still legally socialise in groups of six indoors.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma (pictured today) accused journalists of turning the lockdown situation into a ‘quiz show’, saying people should check council websites rather than listening to the PM

It also fuelled a raging Tory revolt over the government pushing through restrictions on millions of people without parliamentary scrutiny, amid rising concerns about the devastating impact on the economy and jobs.

Whips are desperately trying to strike a deal with rebels who have tabled an amendment to a crunch motion tonight renewing the sweeping powers in the Coronavirus Act.

Tory MPs insisted if Mr Johnson cannot ‘keep up’ with the changes being by the government there is no hope for ordinary members of the public.

But Business Secretary Alok Sharma swatted away the furore this morning, accusing journalists of turning the situation into a ‘quiz show’ and saying people should check council websites rather than listening to the PM.

‘There is an element of slightly ‘gotcha’ about this in terms of this line of questioning. You are a flagship programme when it comes to serious news and it is not a quiz show,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The PM’s confusion today had uncomfortable similarities to the recent spoof of the government’s confusing rules by comedian Matt Lucas

Asked whether he thought that calling on ministers to explain what their coronavirus regulations were was as ‘trivial as a quiz question’, he said: ‘No, absolutely not. But what I’m saying to you is that what is important is if people want to understand the precise restrictions that they have in areas which are more restricted, then they should go on to the (local authority) websites.’

The programme’s host Nick Robinson hit back later on Twitter, saying: ‘I don’t think the producers of Pointless will be too worried about the competition.

‘Believe it or not we ask questions to get the answers, not to prove that politicians don’t know them.’

Shadow health minister Alex Norris added: ‘The Prime Minister should understand the rules he is asking huge numbers of people to follow.

‘That’s not a gotcha, that’s just basic Government competence.’ 

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