A ‘strengthened package of support’ will be rolled out across Greater Manchester and Lancashire in a bid to combat a sharp rise in COVID cases.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the news on Tuesday (June 8) – revealing that some of the worst-affected areas of the North West will receive extra help to tackle the spread of the Delta (Indian) variant.
All ten boroughs of Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire will now receive rapid response teams, extra testing, military assistance and supervised in-school testing.
The support package is similar to the one which has proven successful in bringing down infection rates in Bolton – a borough which previously had the highest rate of coronavirus cases anywhere in England.
Addressing the Commons, Hancock stated: “We are providing a strengthened package of support based on what is working in Bolton to help Greater Manchester and Lancashire tackle the rise in the Delta variant that we are seeing there.”
The Health Secretary added: “We know that this approach can work, we’ve seen it work in south London and in Bolton in stopping a rise in the number of cases.
“This is the next stage of tackling the pandemic in Manchester and in Lancashire, and of course it’s vital that people in these areas – as everywhere else – come forward and get the jab as soon as they’re eligible because that is our way out of this pandemic together.”
The announcement follows reports that the government could delay the next step of the roadmap – with ministers supposedly considering postponing the lockdown exit by two weeks.