CORONAVIRUS cases have doubled in Manchester in just a week with infection rates now as high as May.
It comes as the county declared a major indicent days after going into a local lockdown and the mayor called for a return to shielding.
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Infection rates for the week to Thursday – when the new measures were introduced – show cases per 100,000 people still rising in every part of the conurbation.
Those in Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days, while Oldham's remain the highest and the fastest-growing.
The city had 178 cases in the week ending July 31 – the biggest since May 24.
From July 22 to July 27, the infection rate in Manchester increased from 26.2 to 41.0.
Nearby, Oldham had 31 new cases on July 28 – the highest in one day since May 9.
Experts fear the sudden rise in cases in the North West signals a second coronavirus wave, with Boris Johnson said to be prepped to bring in further restrictions.
Senior figures from the police, local authorities and public health chiefs scrambled an emergency ‘gold command’ meeting to ramp up the region’s response to the outbreak.
The declaration of a major incident means the police can even draft in the army if they need support.
The move is in line with what would happen in the event of a terror attack or major flooding so the authorities can access extra resources if needed.
The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 have spiked in Manchester and Tameside, and there's been a sustained rise in Oldham.
It comes days after a quickfire new lockdown was announced for 4.5million people living in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire.
Residents have been banned from meeting indoors.
Despite the new measures, the Manchester Evening News reports new infections are still rising dramatically.
Provisional figures for the week to Friday, which will be revised by Public Health England in the coming 24 hours, suggest that trend then continued upwards.
The major incident declared yesterday means the region can access extra national resources – such as the army – if it becomes necessary.
Greater Manchester mayor Mr Burham called for the Government to re-introduce shielding measures, which came to an end in England on July 31.
In a tweet, he said: "I listened to the Government when they came to me late on Thursday and asked for our support for new restrictions.
"I am now asking them to listen to us: please reinstate the shielding policy in Greater Manchester from first thing tomorrow.
"Failure to do so is wrong and inhumane."
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese insisted people “should not be alarmed".
He said: "This is standard practice for complex situations which require a multi-agency response.
Why has a major incident been declared in Manchester?
Coronavirus cases are expected to have continued rising in Manchester – despite tighter new lockdown laws
Infection rates for the seven days to Friday showed cases per 100,000 of the population were continuing to rise in each area of Greater Manchester.
Alarmingly, cases in Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days.
Oldham has the highest rates per 100,000 in the authority – and that's still growing rapidly.
It recorded 31 cases in a single day on July 28 – the highest day since early May.
Manchester reported 178 cases in the week to July 31, with 36 of them coming on July 29.
"Although the council and partner organisations have been working closely to tackle the impacts of the pandemic since early this year, declaring a major incident means we can ramp this up further.
"It allows the establishment of a central command structure to oversee the response and enables agencies involved to draw on extra resources.
"Following last week's Government announcement of preventative public health measures across Greater Manchester to address rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, the public would expect us to give this situation our concerted collective attention.
"That, with a view to enabling these restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible, is exactly what we are doing."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said earlier this week he was introducing the clampdown for 4.5million people with a “heavy heart” – but had been "chilled" by soaring infection rates in northern England.
And he said the spread in nine areas – including the cities of Manchester and Bradford – was “largely due to households meeting and not abiding by social distancing rules”.
The laws mean different households are now outlawed from meeting in private gardens or indoors, including homes, pubs and restaurants.
However, Brits can still meet in pub gardens.
There was widespread confusion over the new restrictions after they were announced.
Last night, it was reported that millions of over 50s could be told to stay at home under "nuclear" plans to avoid another national lockdown.
Boris Johnson has asked his team to prepare a series of measures that could help avoid shutting the country down again.
Yesterday, the UK's death toll hit 46,201 after another eight people died with coronavirus – the lowest 24-hour rise since March.
However, the number of people who have tested positive for the virus rose by another 744.
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