Our weekly round-up of coronavirus news - 17 March

MAYOR Andy Burnham has held his weekly press conference detailing the latest COVID 19 statistics for Greater Manchester. He was joined by Baroness Beverley Hughes.

Case Rate

There has been an increase in seven out of ten boroughs, which Mr Burnham says "we have a close watch on". It was described as a bumpy picture at the GMCA emergency meeting. Mr Burnham attributes at least some of the increase to increased testing which is now available to schools and businesses.

Covid Case Rate 17 March
Latest case figures for Greater Manchester GMCA

Tameside, Salford, Oldham and Rochdale have all broken the 100 cases per 100,000 population mark.

Tameside leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “The changeable rates show this is a very fragile situation and that we must all keep going in sticking to the rules and working together to protect our community. Otherwise, there is still the very real danger that Tameside may be left behind with local restrictions while the rest of the country moves forward with more relaxed rules, which is the last thing any of us want.

“It is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for our higher rates but we do think there is a link to our higher levels of deprivation in the borough as well as a high number of residents who are frontline workers who cannot work from home."

Rochdale has changed the threshold for its coronavirus (COVID-19) Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment. Now more residents of the borough will qualify for financial help needed while isolating. Check the Rochdale Council website for more details.

Trafford remains the borough with the lowest rate of positive cases, followed by Bury.


Last week, the 1 million mark was passed for total first doses of vaccine given: 1,026,030 as of yesterday.

Mr Burnham wanted to remind the older cohort that the vaccination programme is moving into the second dose phase and to look out for their GPs getting in touch.

"We encourage all residents who had the first dose back in January to be ready for the call."

Covid Manchester Hospital March 17
Latest hospital figures for Greater Manchester GMCA


There is a significant amount of testing - almost double on last week - due to the return of schools. Companies have until the 31 of March to apply for lateral flow testings. Mr Burnham asked companies to commit to supporting those who had to self-isolate and to commit to protecting jobs.


"There is an improved picture in hospitals across Greater Manchester," said Mr Burnham, "If you look at admissions it is almost half of what is was a fortnight ago.

"We have come down the other side with regard to pressure on our hospital system."

Covid Testing Figues Manchester 17 March
Latest testing figures for Greater Manchester GMCA


The next milestone on the roadmap (to slightly mix metaphors) is the rule of six people being allowed to meet outdoors in public areas from March 29, and the end of the 'stay at home' rule.

Read next: Vaccine volunteers: "It’s not like I’m doing anything amazing"

Read again: Meet the women taking on Manchester City Council - this Friday