Matt Hancock has insisted the fresh localised lockdown rules for the North West are “crystal clear” —  despite the abrupt imposition of these new measures being described as a “tragedy ” by some opposition MPs. 

Households in Greater Manchester — as well as portions of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire — were told on Thursday evening that they would be banned from fulfilling one another indoors. 

The statement was made by the health secretary on Twitter, who wrote: “We’re always looking at the latest data on the spread of coronavirus, and unfortunately we’ve noticed a growing rate of transmission in areas of Northern England. ”


He continued: “When the government finished the daily press conferences, they stated they’d hold them lsquo;significant announcement’, including local lockdowns. It’s hard to imagine what could be more significant than this.

“For all the bluster, government has failed to provide a functioning track and follow up system which would spot local flare ups such as these.

“The people of Greater Manchester now need urgent clarity and explanation from the government – and there must be proper support for all those businesses and individuals affected by any lockdown.

In his tweets on Thursday night, Hancock said the government had worked with “local leaders throughout the region”, but shadow company minister Lucy Powell stated on Friday afternoon she had been “none of the wiser” about the data that has led to widespread limitations on elements of northern England, including in her own constituency.

Speaking to Times Radio, she described the way in which the government had announced the new coronavirus limitations on elements of northern England as a “tragedy ”.

“If we had a much better track and trace system set up we’d be able to see much more clearly some of the localised character or at which these transmissions are actually happening, and do it more strongly at a more localised fashion as opposed to across such a broad place.

“We are still getting less than 50 percent of tests back within 24 hours and honestly that is just not good enough. ”

“There’s a huge number of questions here and it’s clear to me what the data is that is sowing such significant change during the past couple of days that such prevalent measures are essential, and I believe it’s something which I should understand,” she explained.

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