The British government is “hopeful” of an agreement with the mayor of Manchester to increase anti-coronavirus restrictions in the city.
“We have had productive discussions in Greater Manchester over the weekend,” Britain’s Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC in an interview on Monday. “I am hopeful that we can now bring this to a conclusion.”
Jenrick said a package had been offered to Manchester, which included more resources for the city. He also said “other options” would have to be considered if an agreement could not be reached.
“The government has over-arching responsibility to protect people in all parts of the country, including in Greater Manchester, but doing so by imposition has never been our desired approach,” Jenrick said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for the city to enter the highest Tier 3 restrictions under a new system introduced in England last week. On Saturday, he said the city's rise in cases was “grave” and “worsens with each passing day.”
But Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said last week that he and other northwest regions opposed Tier 3 lockdowns, which involve the closure of pubs, restrictions on travel and a ban on socializing with people outside your household.
Burnham said the government's "flawed and unfair strategy" was asking local leaders to "gamble our residents' jobs, homes and business and large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work."