The UK government has imposed tough new restrictions on the northern English city of Manchester in its latest efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
It comes after a tense stand-off between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham, with neither side backing down.
Burnham had resisted the government's call for the area to go into "Tier Three," saying more money needed to be given to businesses and people affected by the tougher lockdown which will force many businesses to close their doors.
The UK, which has recorded nearly 44,000 deaths of people is now experiencing a second wave of the virus – recording fresh daily highs of 21,331 new cases and 241 deaths on Tuesday.
But Johnson is resisting pressure for a second national lockdown, fearful of the disastrous economic effects, and is instead pursuing a localized strategy of imposing three tiers of increasingly stringent restrictions in virus hotspots in England.
The plan has been resisted by leaders in the north of the country, where the worst of the latest outbreaks are concentrated, who say the government isn't providing them with enough financial support to cope with the tightest restrictions.
After days of talks with local leaders about a voluntary move into the tier failed, Johnson unilaterally imposed the top tier of restrictions on Greater Manchester – which include the forced closure of pubs that do not serve food, and advice not to travel in or out of the region.
"This evening, informed by the data we have just seen, I can announce that Greater Manchester will move to the very high alert level," Johnson told a news conference.
He said the restrictions would start on Friday and that he regretted the failure of the talks. "We would have a better chance of defeating the virus if we work together," he stated.
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