Matt Hancock urged to make statement on restrictions by Brabin
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The Metro Mayor of West Yorkshire has expressed her frustration over a new wave of Covid-19 restrictions rolled out by the government without prior warning to local authorities. Tracy Brabin told BBC Breakfast that the measures were introduced overnight “without any consultation.” Eight areas of England with the highest level of the Indian variant of coronavirus have had measures introduced including Kirklees, Leicester, and Burnley.
Ms Brabin said it was “Certainly very surprising that Friday [at] half-past five last week the cabinet office updated their website about changes in movement across Kirklees and the other seven areas without informing local leaders.”
“It’s unfortunately another example of the government doing to us without working with us.”
“So it’s caused a lot of confusion, we were only alerted to it by journalists last night, late last night.”
Residents in the affected areas have been advised not to travel in or out of their home area, among a number of other restrictions.
Ms Brabin described “the restrictions around movement, around getting tested twice a week, about meeting outside, not inside.”
“These new restrictions will have an impact on businesses and the population of Kirklees, and sadly it’s not been discussed with local leaders, even the leaders of the local council.”
“This is quite extraordinary so I’m speaking to the vaccine minister after this call, Nadhim Zahawi, and I’m expecting Matt Hancock to come to the Houses of Parliament to explain what is actually going on.”
“Because of course there’s people that are going back to work, businesses have opened up again and don’t forget that we have been in some version of restrictions for nearly a year.”
“It’s deeply disappointing and certainly if my inbox and Twitter feed is anything to go by, it’s also very, very concerning for the public.”
In addition to Kirklees, other council areas affected are: Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tynside.
151 of England’s 315 council areas have detected cases of the Indian variant, also known as B.1.617.2.
There have been 5,647 cases of the variant detected in England, 383 in Scotland, 62 in Wales and 15 in Northern Ireland.
The new strain of coronavirus is thought to be around 30 per cent more transmissible, but there is not yet any evidence that it is more resistant to vaccines than other areas.
The restrictions imposed in the affected council areas reintroduces some of those relaxed throughout England on May 17.
People are encouraged to meet with others outside whenever possible and to stay two metres away from those not in their household.
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