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The Prime Minister will lead a Covid-19 briefing later after the UK recorded the highest number of daily coronavirus cases since the outbreak began and a final decision is imminent on whether Merseyside will join the North East with tougher lockdown measures.
Boris Johnson will be joined at a Downing Street press conference by chief medical officer for England professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance in what will be the 100th coronavirus briefing since the pandemic hit the UK.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and council leaders of Liverpool City Region have released the following statement:
“As Leaders of the Liverpool City Region, we all understand why further restrictions may be needed to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we represent.
“Cases are now averaging well over 200 per 100,000 people across our region – in some boroughs, much higher. Throughout the pandemic, we have always put the health of our residents first and we will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and keep as many people as possible safe.
“However, at the same time, we must be clear that any further restrictions will deal a hammer blow to our economy.
“Our region is an international destination, and our visitor economy is worth almost £5bn to the city region economy every year, employing over 50,000 people. Over recent years, our hospitality and retail industries have been vibrant and growing. But, in the last six months, we have already seen many of these businesses go under in the face of Covid-19 and, without Government assistance over the past few months, many more would have followed.
“While we protect lives, and our NHS, we must act now to protect the businesses that provide the livelihoods and jobs upon which our 1.6 million residents depend.
“And we must also act to protect the public services on which our communities depend. Our public services have been on the front line of Covid-19 response, but this comes at a huge cost. In the last six months alone, our local authorities and Combined Authority have incurred losses of over £350 million in costs and lost income.
“We are already at breaking point. With new restrictions – and who knows for how long they might be needed – our economy and public services may collapse.
“If we do not act now, we will see a legacy of unemployment and ill-health that will cost lives for generations to come.
“So, today, we are calling on the Government to work with us.
“If Government decide that new restrictions are required, they must also provide a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and our public services.
“And to help us minimise the length of restrictions required, we must secure from the Government an immediate uplift in testing capacity, that matches testing resources to the high level of cases in our region.
“We are fully committed to working in partnership with national government, but we need the right support and resource to help us at a regional level. And we need it now.”
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