The latest data has shown that coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rates in Greater Manchester are 65% lower than when the region was first placed under Tier 3 restrictions.
Rates have fallen fastest in Salford, where they have gone down by 76% in the last six weeks.
Across the Greater Manchester region, the number of cases has fallen far quicker than in the rest of the country, with a 30% in England as a whole, and it means that the infection rate in the region is now only slightly above the national average.
At the time of entering into the first round of Tier 3 restrictions, the rate for the region as a whole was 547.5 cases per 100,000 people and was still going up, but that rise began to slow down in the following days and by the time the national lockdown was introduced on 5th November, the region’s rates were beginning to show a downward trend.
This trend accelerated rapidly in the last four weeks.
The number of cases has dropped by three quarters in Salford, falling from 643.6 to below the England average at 157 cases per 100,000 people, with Trafford seeing the second largest drop of 72% over the same time period and is also now below the national average.
Rochdale – which currently has the highest infection rate in Greater Manchester – has had the slowest fall in cases, but has still seen a drop by 55% since original Tier 3 restrictions first came into effect.
Most areas in Greater Manchester reached peak levels around the end of October and first week of November.
Manchester recorded the highest infection rate of any area in the region – 812.2 per 100,000 – which came a few weeks earlier on 3rd October when there was a large number of cases detected among the student population, and Oldham is the only other area to post a weekly infection rate above 800, which was on 4th November.
In England as a whole, rates have fallen by just 30% since 23rd October, but rates were much lower in the rest of the country at that point.
This new data follows the news that the UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, with the Department of Health and Social Care confirming it has been given the go-ahead by the health regulator MHRA for the vaccine to become administered from next week.
Pfizer and BioNTech reported final trial results on 18th November, showing its vaccine was 95% effective in preventing coronavirus (COVID-19), with no major safety concerns.
Studies have shown the jab works in all age groups.
Greater Manchester leaders believe the fall in cases mean the region should be placed in Tier 2 when the current tiers are first reviewed on 16th December.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.