COVID-19: ‘Danger of unrest’ in Bolton if local coronavirus lockdown measures imposed, council leader warns

There is a "danger of unrest" if Bolton were to be placed into local lockdown, a council leader has warned.

David Greenhalgh, a Conservative and head of the local authority, said that previous implementations of the coronavirus measures were ineffective in the region.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Mr Greenhalgh was asked if it was true he had warned health secretary Matt Hancock about civil unrest in the event of local COVID restrictions.

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The councillor said: "I do think there is a danger of unrest.

"There was a great deal of resentment. Bolton was…disproportionately affected, really since July last year, and even when our rates were coming down, we still remained in lockdown when other areas rates were higher than ours."

Bolton is currently one of the hotspots of the Indian variant of the coronavirus.

Cases have doubled in the last week, and 19 people are in hospital, according to Mr Hancock.

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Mr Greenhalgh added: "We are putting all the measures in that we can at the moment. We have community spread, there’s no doubt about that, and we’re holding back a variant that would appear – although the evidence is still being gathered – to be a little bit more transmissible, easily transmissible.

"The majority of our cases are in very much our younger age groups – primary school, secondary school and in their 20s.

"We still haven’t got an increase in hospitalisation and severe illness, which is hugely welcome, those figures still remain low.

"We’re doing everything we can, the government has sent in surge vaccinations, surge testing… We’re doing everything we can, but I think the next two weeks we will still see our cases rising."

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