News, Culture & Society

Up to 16 children and staff self-isolate at home after Covid outbreak at nursery in locked-down Bury

Up to 16 children and staff have been forced to self-isolated at home after an outbreak of coronavirus at a nursery in locked-down Bury.

A spokeswoman for Mulberry Bush Nursery said a single individual ‘bubble’ of pupils has been affected by the virus – placing the number of infected children somewhere between eight and 16, according to government guidelines.  

All parents were informed by telephone last Saturday but Mulberry Bush Nursery has remained open in line with Public Health England advice. 

It comes as council chiefs in Preston launched a powerful ‘don’t kill granny’ message to encourage youngsters to follow the rules after it was revealed half of new coronavirus cases in the newly-locked down city are under the age of 30. 

Jo Kinloch, of Mulberry Bush Nursery Group in Bury, said: ‘Our Whitefield nursery has had some positive cases of Covid-19 over the past week. All parents of the nursery were informed by telephone on Saturday.

Up to 16 children and staff have been forced to self-isolated at home after an outbreak of coronavirus at Mulberry Bush Nursery in locked-down Bury 

Bury is one of a number of areas in the north of England to be locked down in recent weeks

Bury is one of a number of areas in the north of England to be locked down in recent weeks

Reopening schools in September WILL lead to a catastrophic second wave of coronavirus unless NHS test and trace drastically improves, major study claims 

Children returning to school in September will trigger a devastating second wave of Covid-19 that could infect twice as many as the first unless the test and trace system drastically improves, a major study has claimed.

Scientists said reopening schools in the UK would inevitably result in another crisis that peaks in December. 

But it could be avoided – with pubs remaining open and no draconian lockdowns needed – if testing is dramatically ramped up and the contact tracing system becomes better. 

Three quarters of people with Covid-19 would need to be tested and self-isolate to prevent a second wave caused by schools reopening.

‘We have been working closely with Public Health England and have followed all their advice in relation to this situation.

‘PHE are extremely supportive of all the measures we have had in place and the action taken over the last week. 

‘We have also informed Ofsted as required by the current guidance.

‘The positive cases only affected one of the individual groups (‘bubbles’) of children and adults at the nursery and all appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure that the situation is contained.

‘As a result, some of our Whitefield team are now at home self-isolating, as are some of our children.

‘The nursery has remained open in accordance with the advice given by PHE and our parents have been incredibly supportive.

‘Those affected by the positive tests are all well at the moment thankfully. We have had regular communication with all our parents and assured them that we have taken all appropriate action to deal with this situation.

‘We take the safety and wellbeing of all of our children and team members extremely seriously, and have been determined to handle this difficult situation as well as possible.

‘We have had detailed Covid-19 operating procedures in place throughout the pandemic across the Group, having stayed open throughout the whole of the lockdown period, caring for children of key worker families and vulnerable children.’

Fears are growing that ‘bold’ young people are ignoring social distancing and mixing in big crowds, putting them at risk of contracting the virus. 

LOCKDOWN RULES: WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO

Areas affected: Preston, Greater Manchester (City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale and Salford), Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Leicester.

You must not: Meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law).

Visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas.

You should not: Socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.

Punishments: Fines, starting at £100 and halving to £50 if paid in the first 14 days but doubling for subsequent offences.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE RULES?

Greater Manchester (including City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale and Salford): 2,835,686

Blackburn with Darwen: 149,696

Burnley: 88,920

Hyndburn: 81,043

Pendle: 92,112

Rossendale: 71,482

Bradford: 539,776

Calderdale: 211,455

Kirklees: 439,787

Preston: 141,818

Leicester: 329,839

Total: 4,981,614

Many of those who do get infected may be asymptomatic and might not even realise they are then passing it on to loved ones when returning home.

It comes as the Local Government Association calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs nationwide, as revellers once again packed into venues up and down the country last night.

The issue is particularly alarming in Preston, which went into a local lockdown overnight, where half of its 61 new cases were found to be among people aged under 30.

The rate of new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in Preston has jumped from 21.7 in the seven days to July 28 to 42.6 in the week up to August 4, according to new PHE data. 

The region’s director of public health claimed this week that mixing in watering holes was to blame for the area being put back into lockdown, which was enforced a week after Switch nightclub in the city controversially reopened to punters.

All residents in the Lancashire city – home to 140,000 people – are now banned from mixing with any other households indoors or in a garden, in a last-ditch attempt to curb soaring rates of coronavirus. 

They have also been urged to avoid meeting with friends in any setting, such as pubs and restaurants. 

Health chiefs warned the measures will be kept under review but threatened tougher action if people don’t abide by the restrictions. 

The city council’s chief executive today urged youngsters in the area to follow the rules by delivering a stark message. 

Adrian Phillips told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I know our director of public health has said ‘don’t kill granny’ to young people to try and focus the message.

‘Young people are inevitably among the brave and the bold, they want to be adventurous and out and about but we know that they have the virus, are more likely to at the moment, they often have less symptoms but they do take it back to their household and the community spread we are seeing we believe in many cases are young people taking it home and catching the virus. 

‘We’re going to have to repeat it and whether Radio 4 is the correct channel for that I’m not quite sure but we’re using multiple channels and we’re working with community groups who are doing peer to peer comms around.

‘It’s just trying so many different ways to get the message to all communities, to all areas of our city that the virus is still something to be really wary of.’

He also backed the LGA’s call for councils to have greater powers to close pubs to slow the spread of the pandemic.

‘You need responsive powers,’ he said. ‘It is useful to have something that can move quickly and we can make it entirely clear to the licensee or the operator what the consequences are.’

Licensing laws currently do not allow councils to take action on public health grounds, such as where Covid-19 guidelines are not being followed, instead relying on general health and safety legislation, which is less specific and makes it harder to intervene.  

Preston's lockdown comes a week after Switch nightclub in the city controversially reopened to punters

Preston's lockdown comes a week after Switch nightclub in the city controversially reopened to punters

Preston’s lockdown comes a week after Switch nightclub in the city controversially reopened to punters, pictured left and right

A man wears a face mask at Preston Market yesterday before the city went into lockdown overnight

A man wears a face mask at Preston Market yesterday before the city went into lockdown overnight

Passengers in Preston were seen respecting social distancing and wearing masks before new restrictions came into effect from today

Passengers in Preston were seen respecting social distancing and wearing masks before new restrictions came into effect from today

LGA calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down pubs not following the rules

Licensing laws currently do not allow councils to take action on public health grounds, such as where Covid-19 guidelines are not being followed, instead relying on general health and safety legislation, which is less specific and makes it harder to intervene.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, wants to see the introduction of a temporary public health or Covid-19 objective, allowing town halls to take action where premises are not protecting the public during the pandemic – such as collecting people’s contact details or maintaining social distancing.

Current government guidance says pubs are only asked to voluntarily roll out such rules, but the LGA insists it should be made mandatory and legally enforceable.  

It says most are working hard to comply with the guidance but councils have concerns that some pubs are not collecting contact details of customers so they can be reached in the event of a local outbreak.

Local authorities have recently been given powers to close premises, but these can only be used where there is already a serious and imminent risk to public health. 

The LGA says extending licensing powers would mean they can act quickly and proactively in cracking down on places that flout the guidance, to prevent problems in the first place instead of only being able to act when it is too late.

It says the sanctions available under the Licensing Act – such as requiring a business to apply new conditions to operate safely, or in the worst cases revoking a licence – would be better suited to preventing the risk of infection spreading than the tools available under health and safety laws.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, wants to see the introduction of a temporary public health or Covid-19 objective, allowing town halls to take action where premises are not protecting the public during the pandemic – such as collecting people’s contact details or maintaining social distancing.

Current government guidance says pubs are only asked to voluntarily roll out such rules, but the LGA insists it should be made mandatory and legally enforceable.  

It says most are working hard to comply with the guidance but councils have concerns that some pubs are not collecting contact details of customers so they can be reached in the event of a local outbreak.

Local authorities have recently been given powers to close premises, but these can only be used where there is already a serious and imminent risk to public health. 

The LGA says extending licensing powers would mean they can act quickly and proactively in cracking down on places that flout the guidance, to prevent problems in the first place instead of only being able to act when it is too late.

It says the sanctions available under the Licensing Act – such as requiring a business to apply new conditions to operate safely, or in the worst cases revoking a licence – would be better suited to preventing the risk of infection spreading than the tools available under health and safety laws.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: ‘The vast majority of businesses are implementing the necessary measures to protect people’s safety, and councils are working hard to support premises in these efforts.

‘However, some councils are beginning to see isolated cases where the guidelines are not being followed and they are limited in what they can do to stop it.

‘This is clearly a danger to communities, putting people at risk of infection.

‘It needs to be mandatory for premises to follow this government safety guidance and councils need the right powers to intervene and take action if necessary.

‘It does not take long for this virus to spread if allowed. While councils do not want to have to shut anywhere down, business owners need to know that councils have the power to act if local communities are put at risk.’ 

Britons took to the nation’s pubs and bars last night to enjoy a drink after a day of scorching weather – as critics accused many who mingled in large groups of ‘undoing the hard work of lockdown’.

Revellers crowded into bars and poured out into the streets, with many foregoing facemasks and ignoring social distancing measures into the early hours.

Social distancing was nowhere to be seen in Portsmouth as groups mixed in tight spaces last night, without wearing face coverings

Social distancing was nowhere to be seen in Portsmouth as groups mixed in tight spaces last night, without wearing face coverings

One reveller enjoyed the end of Leicester's lockdown a little too much. He was snapped taking a nap on some benches after a night out on Friday

One reveller enjoyed the end of Leicester’s lockdown a little too much. He was snapped taking a nap on some benches after a night out on Friday

The Local Government Association calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs nationwide, as revellers once again packed into venues up and down the country last night

The Local Government Association calls for councils to be given more powers to shut down rule-breaking pubs nationwide, as revellers once again packed into venues up and down the country last night

Drinkers looked a little worse for wear in Leicester, as they enjoyed the end of a strict local lockdown in the city. 

One man took a short nap on a bench as others enjoyed chatting in groups. 

Many appeared unbothered by fears of coronavirus as crowds mixed without masks – despite rising cases in the UK driving fears of a second wave. 

Britain yesterday recorded another 871 Covid-19 cases as official data shows the number of people getting diagnosed with the life-threatening disease each day has dropped for the first time in a fortnight.

Department of Health statistics reveal 834 new infections are being registered each day – down slightly from the rolling seven-day average of 835 yesterday. 

But the number of patients testing positive daily is still much higher than the four-month low figure of 546 on July 8.

Cases have steadily risen since over the past month, fuelling fears of a second wave. 

Separate figures released yesterday suggested the number of coronavirus infections in England may have actually dropped 12 per cent in a week.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) now believes there are 3,700 people in England catching Covid-19 each day. 

Its estimate of 4,200 daily cases last week prompted Boris Johnson to declare he was ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on easing the coronavirus lockdown. 

Government scientific advisers yesterday warned the coronavirus reproduction rate could now be as high as one right across the UK. SAGE estimates the R value – the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is now between 0.8 and 1.0, up from last week’s prediction that it was hovering around 0.8 and 0.9.

Experts say the R needs to stay below one or Governments risk losing control of the epidemic and the virus could spiral back out of control.

Northern lockdown row breaks out as Tory MPs demand the lifting of blanket measures for the whole of Greater Manchester to release areas with low infection rates 

  • The mayor poured cold water on hopes of easing restrictions in Wigan this week
  • The borough has the lowest infection rate in the Greater Manchester region
  • MPs argue Mr Burnham’s ‘one size fits all approach’ is ‘wrong’ and ‘dangerous’

By Tom Pyman for MailOnline

Tory MPs have clashed with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over his claims that it would be ‘impossible’ to lift lockdown restrictions in just one borough ahead of a review today.

A major incident was declared by authorities in Greater Manchester this week following a rise in the number of coronavirus infections and new measures were introduced.

This meant people from different households were told not to meet each other inside their homes and gardens while they were also banned from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues.

Labour mayor Mr Burnham said on Wednesday it would be ‘impossible’ to lift stricter lockdown restrictions in Wigan despite the borough having the lowest infection rate in the metropolitan county.

Wigan has the lowest infection rate in Greater Manchester but will not have restrictions eased

Wigan has the lowest infection rate in Greater Manchester but will not have restrictions eased

Labour mayor Mr Burnham said on Wednesday it would be 'impossible' to lift stricter lockdown restrictions in a single borough

Labour mayor Mr Burnham said on Wednesday it would be ‘impossible’ to lift stricter lockdown restrictions in a single borough

However, furious local Conservative MPs took exception to his comments and have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, claiming Mr Burnham’s ‘one size fits all approach’ is ‘not only wrong, but dangerous’. 

They added that lockdown measures in Leicester were only applied in certain areas, and were lifted gradually when it was deemed safe to do so.

That in turn sparked an angry response from the mayor, who said it was ‘so self-serving to politicise a serious public health issue like this’.

It comes as findings from a review of the current rules affecting parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, as well as Leicester and Greater Manchester, are set to be made public today.  

The letter to Mr Hancock was signed by MPs James Grundy, Sir Graham Brady, James Daly, Christian Wakeford, Chris Clarkson, Chris Green, Mark Logan, Mary Robinson and William Wragg.

It read: ‘We are writing to you to express our grave concerns about the comments of The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, regarding the recent measures put in place to combat COVID-19 across Greater Manchester in his press conference on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 5.

Furious local Conservative MPs took exception to the mayor's comments and have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, pictured, claiming Mr Burnham's 'one size fits all approach' is 'not only wrong, but dangerous'

Furious local Conservative MPs took exception to the mayor’s comments and have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, pictured, claiming Mr Burnham’s ‘one size fits all approach’ is ‘not only wrong, but dangerous’

‘During the press conference, Andy Burnham was quoted by Manchester Evening News journalist Jen Williams, stating that it was ‘impossible’ to lift the restrictions in any single borough, implying that the new Greater Manchester wide COVID-19 measures must remain in place across the whole conurbation, even in communities that may have not registered a single case for weeks, until the outbreak has been dealt with everywhere across the metropolitan county. This would be an unacceptable approach.

‘Firstly, the claims made by the Greater Manchester Mayor are categorically false. As you know, the measures applied to the recent outbreak in Leicester did not apply to the whole county, but only Leicester City and the Oadby and Wigston local authorities, and the measures were later lifted in Oadby and Wigston whilst some measures remain in force in Leicester.

‘Furthermore, in the neighbouring county of Lancashire, and the neighbouring metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, the new measures only came into force in the parts of those counties worst affected by COVID-19. It is perfectly possible to vary the measures on a local authority by local authority basis according to the evidence available, as has already been demonstrated.

‘The strategy pursued by Andy Burnham of a ‘one size fits all’ approach across the whole of Greater Manchester, irrespective of local infection rates, is not only wrong, but dangerous. This strategy risks spreading resources too thinly across the whole conurbation, including in areas with few or no cases.

‘A more sophisticated approach targeting resources at the areas with the greatest need is required. Measures must be taken on a borough by borough basis, and on a town by town basis in boroughs, where there are only one or two coronavirus ‘hotspots’, but the rates in other parts of the same borough are low. 

The letter Tory MPs wrote to Matt Hancock

The letter Tory MPs wrote to Matt Hancock

The MPs added in the letter, pictured left and right, that lockdown measures in Leicester were only applied in certain areas, and were lifted gradually when it was deemed safe to do so

‘Failing to properly target resources, meaning inadequate measures in some places where the problems are greatest, and wasting resources where none are currently needed risks a wider outbreak across Greater Manchester, will only lead to more stringent ‘full lockdown’ measures being imposed as happened in Leicester. We must strive to avoid this at all costs.

‘The Mayor of Greater Manchester has failed to understand that there is a great deal of variation in terms of infection rates and consequent need across Greater Manchester, and is seeking to impose a crude and ineffective strategy across the whole area.

‘We urge you to take swift action to address the clear failings in the strategy he has put forward to avoid the risk of further restrictions needing to be put in place.’

In a scathing response, Mr Burnham accused the MPs of ‘putting politics before public safety’.

He wrote: ‘I have seen the letter that you have today sent to the Health Secretary. Given the efforts I have made to make myself available to you all throughout this crisis, it is disappointing to say the least that you did not seek to discuss your concerns with me first before placing your letter in the public domain. You have accused me of pursuing a ‘crude and ineffective strategy across the whole area’.

The letter sparked an angry response from the mayor, who said it was 'so self-serving to politicise a serious public health issue like this'

The letter sparked an angry response from the mayor, who said it was ‘so self-serving to politicise a serious public health issue like this’

‘May I remind you all that the strategy you describe, of imposing restrictions across the whole of Greater Manchester, was not my decision but one taken by your own Government and put to me late last Thursday. 

‘That same Government, of which you are all part, has today chosen to uphold that decision following a review of the latest evidence.

‘In choosing to write to me in the way that you have, it is clear that you all disagree with your own Government’s decision but do not have the courage to say so. 

‘Instead, you are clearly seeking to deflect blame and politicise this issue. I would consider this fairly low behaviour at any time. But in the middle of a global pandemic, when I am trying to work across party lines and provide cross-party support to your Government for the difficult decisions it is having to take, it is beneath contempt.

‘I can assure you that it was not easy to support your Government, particularly when the communication of the new policy was so confused. But I did so based on the evidence and the need to put people’s health first. Early action now may prevent a much more restrictive lockdown later down the line.

‘You question why approaching this on a Greater Manchester basis is justified. It is because we have rising numbers of cases in nine out of our 10 boroughs. Those same boroughs are inter-connected. Most people routinely cross borough boundaries on a daily basis.

‘Even in places where case numbers are low, they are on the doorstep of places where they are much higher. Therefore, at this time, I do not believe it is possible to look at any borough in isolation and this is the point I was making to the Manchester Evening News. 

‘If the facts change, and we were to see decreases in a cluster of boroughs, then of course this could be reviewed. You may recall that I made this point clear on the MPs’ call last Friday which many of you joined.

‘I will continue to do whatever I can to protect the health of our residents, no matter how difficult. If that includes working across political divides with a Conservative Government, I will do it and won’t be deflected by local Tory MPs putting politics before public safety.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.