North West is "coming through" latest wave of Covid - GM Mayor Andy Burnham

The North West is "coming through" the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said.

Enhanced support was given by the Government to Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside as much of the region saw a rise in cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India.

Speaking on BBC's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Burnham said current case rates in Bolton one of the first areas to see a rise in the Delta variant, provided encouragement.

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He said: "I certainly see a huge amount of work going on in our communities to contain the Delta variant.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham

"Look at Bolton - you can see real encouragement there. Where the work went in, the case numbers have been turned around and they've got now quite a significant decrease.

"I'm very sure that we'll see the same in the rest of Greater Manchester.

"So, I think we are coming through this. I think we now need to be careful and proportionate in terms of the way we manage things going forward."

Also speaking on the show, strategic response director for Covid-19 at Public Health England (PHE) Dr Susan Hopkins said: "We are definitely seeing some signals in some areas of cases slowing down, Bolton for example has definitely reversed, Blackburn with Darwen has stabilised.

"But there are other parts of the country, particularly in some parts of the North East, some parts of London that are still rising quite fast."

Blackburn with Darwen, in Lancashire, has been recording the highest rates in the country but figures now show a drop in the case rates.

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The area recorded 804 new cases in the seven days to June 14 - the equivalent of 537.1 cases per 100,000 people, down from 667.4 per 100,000 in the seven days to June 7.

In Bolton, there was the equivalent of 273.7 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to June 14, down from 314.4 in the previous week.

Those living in places with a rise in cases have been advised to minimise travel in and out of their areas and the Government has provided more support for surge testing, tracing, isolation support and maximising vaccine uptake.

Mr Burnham said he was still asking the Government for help to vaccinate more people.

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He said: "So far we haven't had the support we need on that but I would say to them the more we work to stop the spread, particularly in areas that have had the highest cases, then we can all get back to a more normal life."