LIVERPOOL’S council leaders have today called for another national lockdown to stop the spread of the new mutant strain of coronavirus and prevent a “catastrophe”.
The city’s acting mayor, councillor Wendy Simon, and the Labour-run city council’s cabinet say the speed of the rise in Covid-19 cases have reached “alarming levels”.
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They said urgent action is now required to save lives and the NHS.
The new strain of Covid-19 transmits faster and is most prevalent in London and the South East, where hospitals have become stretched.
It is believed the strain is spreading from south to north, leading to increasing pressure on the NHS.
Cases in Liverpool have almost trebled in the past two weeks to 350 per 100,000, despite the city successfully leading on the national pilot for community testing which led to it being the first city to be taken out of Tier 3 and into Tier 2.
The call for a new lockdown was made in a statement from the city council, from Cllr Wendy Simon and Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Paul Brant.
The current mayor of the city, Joe Anderson, is on police bail on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.
The statement said: “It is clear that the country is now at a crossroads with Covid-19.
“The stark reality is that today this virulent new strain of the virus is very much on the rise and we need to act now to prevent a crisis that will unleash even more pain and anguish.
“We need the government to listen to those at the frontline, both in our hospitals and frontline services.
The quicker we move into one now, the more lives will be saved and the quicker a recovery will be.
“We as a nation can cope with a lockdown. We have before and we can again. The quicker we move into one now, the more lives will be saved and the quicker a recovery will be.
“Yes, there will be pain for our retail and hospitality sectors, but they want long term security and a strong recovery and a lockdown provides both.
“An additional package of welfare and economic support will also be needed, especially to protect the most vulnerable.”
It comes as Boris Johnson today refused to rule out a full national lockdown and warned he may have to introduce tougher coronavirus restrictions “in the next few weeks”.
The Prime Minister said we need to be “realistic” about the pace of which the new mutant Covid variant is spreading across the country.
Meanwhile, the Liverpool councillors said it was “self-evident” the tier system is not working to curb the virus.
They added: “London’s rates are a huge cause for concern and we will soon see those rates here and across the rest of the country.
“Let’s get ahead of the curve and act now. We all know too well the dire consequences and costs if we don’t, particularly to the most vulnerable in our communities.
“Millions of Britons have made many sacrifices these past 10 months and none of us want to see those efforts go to waste. Much progress has been made to limit the virus, but we can only do so much as individuals.
“The country is currently facing a catastrophe that will undo much of what has been achieved if we do not act as one.”
A Government spokeswoman said: “We strengthened our measures by introducing Tier 4 two weeks ago, based on advice from Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).
"It is vital everyone continues to follow the rules to reduce transmission in their areas, save lives and protect our NHS.
“We keep the spread of Covid-19 under constant review based on latest medical and scientific data and have been clear we will not hesitate to take actions necessary to protect local communities.”
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