“For all the bluster, government has failed to deliver a functioning track and trace system that would spot local flare ups like these”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said announcing the lockdown measures “late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications”.
He tweeted: “No one would argue with putting in place local action to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
“But announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis.
“When the government ended the daily press conferences, they said they would hold them for “significant announcements”, including local lockdowns. It’s hard to imagine what could be more significant than this.
“For all the bluster, government has failed to deliver a functioning track and trace system that would spot local flare ups like these.
“The people of Greater Manchester now need urgent clarity and explanation from the government – and there must be proper support for those businesses and people affected by any lockdown.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed just after 9pm tonight that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire will be banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight.
Mr Hancock said “households gathering and not abiding by the social distancing rules” was a reason for the stricter rules and it was in order to “keep the country safe”.
He said: “We take this action with a heavy heart but unfortunately it’s necessary because we’ve seen that households meeting up and a lack of social distancing is one of the causes of this rising rate of coronavirus and we’ll do whatever is necessary to keep the country safe.”
Mr Hancock added: “We’re constantly vigilant and we’ve been looking at the data, and unfortunately we’ve seen across parts of northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.
“So, today, I held a meeting of the Government’s Gold Committee and working with local leaders, including, for instance, Andy Burnham the mayor of Greater Manchester, we’ve decided that we need to take action across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.
The new restrictions apply to the whole of Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire including Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale and parts of West Yorkshire including Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.
The same restrictions will also apply to Leicester, which saw the first so-called “local lockdown” imposed on June 29.
News – Sir Kier Starmer hits out at government’s handling of new lockdown announcement