GREATER Manchester mayor Andy Burnham hopes the government have "learnt lessons" from last year when announcing plans to ease the lockdown next week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the country on Monday and is expected to set out a roadmap about when and how coronavirus restrictions will be lifted.

But Mr Burnham hopes the tier system, which was used last year and led to tougher rules in certain parts of the country, should be scrapped, especially with the presence of different Covid-19 variants.

He wants a national approach to be adopted with a priority of reopening schools and allowing grassroot sports to be played again to help youngsters.

In an online press conference this afternoon, he pointed out that the region's seven-day rate of positive cases per 100,000 people fell from 231.5 in the week up to February 5 to 193.7 in the seven days up to February 12.

However, he warned that this statistic is still above the national average and the rate is not falling as rapidly as other parts of the country.

He believes this has happened due to a higher amount of people in the region having to go to work during the pandemic and it being harder for some residents to self-isolate from other members in their households.

Leigh Journal:

Wigan borough's rate has fallen from 226.7 to 174.6 in that period while there are concerns that Bury's and Tameside's rates have increased.

The metro mayor also called on the government to provide more support to people who do not feel safe in workplaces and for better access to self-isolation funding.

With regards to hospital figures, weekly Covid-19 admissions feel from 266 in the week up to February 8 to 193 in the seven days up to February 15.

Leigh Journal:

And the mayor revealed that the number of patients in Greater Manchester hospitals was 17 per cent in the latest figures, down from 30 per cent a few weeks ago.

"That is a big reduction and we are certainly seeing signs of improvement", he said.

But he said that some hospitals are still under lots of pressure.

Meanwhile, enforcing the rules is becoming harder for police, Greater Manchester deputy mayor, Baroness Bev Hughes said.

In the week up to Monday, 228 fixed penalty notice fines were handed out for Covid-19 breaches with the majority of them issued at the weekend.

Baroness Hughes said officers are facing an increased resistance from members of the public, with many refusing to let them inside properties after reports of large gatherings.

Mr Burnham also praised the "phenomenal" response by the region in rolling out the vaccine with more than 639,000 people in Greater Manchester having had their first jabs.

Leigh Journal:

In the over 70s category, around 90 per cent have had one of the two vaccinations they need to protect themselves against the virus, and health workers are trying to persuade a further 72,000 people, who have not had a jab, to have it administered.