Live: Andy Burnham holds press conference as Greater Manchester NHS comes under heavy pressure from Covid

Andy Burnham is due to hold his final press conference this afternoon as alarms sound within the Greater Manchester system over the extent of Covid pressure on health and social services.

Hospitals here collectively decided last night to suspend elective surgery everywhere except Rochdale and Christie infirmary, with bed occupancy outside of intensive care supposed to run at 96pc.

Hospitals have reportedly seen a dramatic increase in admissions in recent days as they simultaneously tackle staff absences, while social services struggle to receive patients discharged for the same reason.

Following today’s meeting of the Greater Manchester Public Sector Leaders Covid Emergency Committee, the Mayor will here provide an update on the overall pandemic situation.

Covid-related admissions in Greater Manchester are lagging behind those in London, where the current wave of omicron has first taken hold.

They started to grow gradually from mid-December, but the strong pressure would not have been felt here until New Years.

Boris Johnson said yesterday the NHS would be able to ‘weather’ the current crisis without resorting to foreclosure measures, but trusts admitted to different locations at different times could be ‘temporarily overwhelmed’.

Today, the UK Health Security Agency also announced that from January 11, asymptomatic people who test positive using a lateral flow device will no longer need to have a PCR to confirm the result, because the pressure remains on the test system.

Along with today’s health update, MEN understands that leaders also discussed the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone, which is slated to come into place in May. It is understood that the possibility of asking for more financial support from the government was raised.

The zone – which was prompted by ministers to call on local regions to find ways to cut emissions – would cover every borough and see the most polluting vans, trucks, buses and taxis tasked with getting in or out of them. to move.

In recent weeks, however, furious social media campaigns have erupted against this decision.

Today’s press conference begins at 2 p.m.

Follow updates in our live blog below.

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