The acting mayor of Liverpool has called for a national lockdown amid rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the UK.
Wendy Simon and the city council’s cabinet say the speed of the rise in coronavirus cases and a new more transmissible variant mean action is needed to save lives and stop hospitals being overwhelmed. She said the number of infections had reached “alarming levels”.
Simon took over from fellow Labour councillor Joe Anderson in December after he was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation. He has since been bailed.
It is believed the new coronavirus strain, which was first identified in south-east England, has been spreading north. It is thought to have led to the surge in infections seen in December.
Cases in Liverpool have almost trebled in the last two weeks to 350 per 100,000, despite the city leading on the national pilot for community testing. As a result of an initially positive trial, it was the first city to be taken out of tier 3 and put into tier 2.
A statement by Simon and the council’s cabinet member for public health, Paul Brant, said: “We need the government to listen to those at the frontline, both in our hospitals and frontline services.
“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.”
The statement 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.
“The country is currently facing a catastrophe that will undo much of what has been achieved if we do not act as one.”
A Department for Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We will not hesitate to take actions necessary to protect local communities.”