Our weekly round-up of coronavirus news - 26 March

Data regarding the case rates, hospital occupancy and vaccinations has been released by GMCA today. The figures come as Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned that Manchester could be at higher risk for a resurgence.

Professor Hayward told Radio 4: "Some geographical areas, for example London, Manchester and Leicester, have lower than average vaccine uptake.

"It is communities with lower vaccine uptake that will likely see the highest levels of hospitalisations and deaths if there is a resurgence of cases. 

"Often, these are poorer communities who have already been badly affected by Covid-19.

"Overall, this may mean some areas are more affected than others which will put pressure on some hospitals, depending on the severity of this there may be a need for local measures to counteract this."

While the Government has not ruled out the possibility of local restrictions, there are no plans to return to the tier system, which was repeatedly criticised by Mayor Andy Burnham.

Case Rate Covid Update 26 March
Positive cases per 100,000 GMCA

Case rates

The case rate up to the 19 March was 93.7 per 100,000 population for the whole of Greater Manchester. The national average is 57.3.

Trafford was by far the lowest with 38.3 cases per 100,000 while Tameside has 118.3, the highest number in the region


Two cases of the South African variant have been discovered in Bolton - the first known cases of the variant in Greater Manchester. Although the variant is not thought to be any more severe than other types of COVID-19, it has been reported that it may be more transmissible, and less susceptible to vaccines.

Surge testing has thought to have not been recommended in this instance.

Schools and businesses are being urged to make use of rapid testing, which can be used if the person being tested does not have any Covid symptoms; no new cough, temperature or loss of taste and smell. This test is to identify people who have no symptoms but have the infection. About 1 in 3 people with Coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others.

Hospitals 26 March Covid Update
Hospital admissions GMCA


The weekly admissions figures has halved from two weeks ago, while both the occupancy of regular hospital beds and HDU beds has fallen by approximately a third in the same timeframe.


The total number of first doses of the vaccine given across Greater Manchester as of yesterday was 1,171,054. Army personnel are helping out with vaccine drive in Stockport, while a new walk-in vaccination centre will open in Bolton at the end of the month.

Vaccines 26 March Covid Update
Vaccination figures GMCA


Unpaid carers across Manchester are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine as part of the ongoing vaccination programme. Under priority group six which is currently rolling out, unpaid carers who are the sole or primary carer for someone elderly or with a disability who are at an increased risk and considered clinically vulnerable.

Unpaid carers over the age of 18 who are not already known to services can contact the NHS National Booking Service or by ringing 119 to answer a few questions to determine if they are eligible to book their vaccination appointment.  

Carers who have any further questions about getting their vaccination or registering as a carer can contact the recently launched Carers Manchester Contact Point for advice. This is a one-stop advice and information helpline for all Manchester carers that can offer support and advice specific to their needs. No question is too big or small and carers can get advice and information on benefits and financial advice, employment advice, rights as a carer and support for parent carers. They can also provide information on local support during the pandemic and advice on the vaccination programme and how to book. 

Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, said: "As a city, it's vital that we acknowledge the role of all our carers - including those who are unpaid. It's absolutely right that our unpaid carers should have the vaccine not only to protect themselves but also those they support. This is a welcome move and I also urge them to use our new Carers Contact Point service which aims to bring as much help and advice into a single, easily accessible place."

Carers Manchester Contact Point can be called on 0161 543 8000 or emailed at contactpoint@carersmanchester.org.uk


GMP are seeing an increase in fraudulent coronavirus test certificates, showing that a person has recently tested negative for COVID-19, presented at Manchester Airport. They warn that participating in this activity or purchasing one of these certificates is a crime.

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