The mayor of Greater Manchester has encouraged residents in the north-west of England to water down their plans for England’s Euro 2020 football match against Croatia this weekend after a surge in cases of coronavirus.
Andy Burnham said people in Lancashire and Greater Manchester should aim to “minimise” the number of people they watch the match with on Sunday.
It comes after the Government recommended that people living in certain areas which have seen a rise in cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India should now meet outside rather than inside where possible, keep up social distancing and minimise travel in and out of affected regions.
Originally, only Burnley, Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside had been given the advice.
However, the advice has now been expanded to areas including Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan) and Lancashire (Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre).
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Burnham said: “If you look to this weekend with the weather looking good in Greater Manchester, which is great for everybody with the football coming, we would say minimise the number of people you watch the match with. Watch it outside if you can.”
Mr Burnham has also insisted that it is “not a lockdown” but “advice”.
He also praised the Government for “surging support” into areas where there are high case numbers after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that a “strengthened package of support” will be provided for Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
The help on offer includes military support with testing and supervised in-school testing, while greater communication with disadvantaged groups will be available.
England will kick off their campaign to win the rearranged tournament with a group match against Croatia in front of 22,500 home fans at Wembley on Sunday.
The team will also face Scotland and the Czech Republic in the next few weeks.