We are at a crossroads in this crisis and the Government, rather than knowing which way to turn, are instead caught in the headlights. This Government have had seven months to get their test and trace system in place, but, tragically for the almost 50,000 people who have lost their lives already since this pandemic started, it has failed. There can be no excuse when our European partners have had an effective system in place since May.
This is a deeply worrying period for my Stockport constituents, given that Greater Manchester and the north-west are witnessing some of the highest infection rates in the country, and we are now in the Government’s tier 2 category. Indeed, in the borough of Stockport alone, there are now more than 4,000 cases of coronavirus, and it is being reported that the Government will today convene a gold command meeting where Greater Manchester may be moved into tier 3—the highest category.
Despite this, the Government are offering little beyond lockdown measures to stop the spread of this deadly disease. The Mayor of Greater Manchester has been calling for proper funding for test and trace for months, and only today the leaders of all 10 councils in Greater Manchester and the Mayor, Andy Burnham, released a statement in response to the new restrictions. In it, they call for testing
“to enable targeting of known or emerging points of transmission.”
They also raise valid concerns about this Government’s attempt to bounce Greater Manchester into the higher risk tier 3 category.