Liverpool and Greater Manchester were treated by the Tory government as “canaries in the coal mine”.

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The Mayor of Metro Greater Manchester warned against this and at the same time rejected the government’s attempt to impose what he called “flawed and unfair” level three closures on the city region. Liverpool entered level three on Wednesday.

Liverpool, Greater Manchester and cities in the northwest are being set up as “canaries in the coal mine” for an experiment in London, Andy Burnham claimed.

Andy Burnham asserted this claim while resisting a Tier 3 closure for his city region.

“And yet this is what they want to impose on the Northwest.

He said: “The government told us this morning that it is not prepared to do so because of the damage it will do to the national economy.

In a statement this afternoon, Mr. Burnham said the government is not willing to risk the economic damage that a national lockdown would cause and asked why it could then impose lockdowns on the Northwest.

“Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are being set up as canaries in the coal mine for an experimental regional closure strategy to avoid the cost of what is really needed.

“So that was our conclusion from Session No. 10 this morning: they are prepared to sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try to save them elsewhere.

In a joint statement prior to the closure of Liverpool, Mayors Steve Rotheram and Joe Anderson said that they had no doubt that the government would introduce new closure rules “with or without them”.

He also claimed that the government is not giving the city regions the financial support they need for full lockdown.

The letter said: “Since we were first informed by the government that in response to the high and rising Covid 19 cases in the City Region, it was made clear to us that the government would put the Liverpool City Region on new Tier 3 restrictions, whether we dealt with them or not.

While they said that they shared the government’s concern about pressure on hospitals and remained “absolutely committed” to working with them to stop the spread of Covid-19, they also said that they would continue to advocate greater protection for jobs and businesses.

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But it added: “For anyone who has any doubts about the seriousness of the situation we are in if we don’t bring the cases down, the preparations announced this morning to strengthen the nightingale hospitals in the North West of the NHS could now be a wake-up call”.

The Prime Minister announced the closure on Monday: “I don’t want to stop people from having fun, but we must act to save lives.

“If the virus is not controlled, each person will infect three others with the virus, the R-value is between 1.2 and 1.5.

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