Bolton’s coronavirus infection rate is the highest in GM.

Isolation is a key part of the Test, Trace and Isolate system that must work to bring rates down – says Cllr Sue Haworth.

The latest figures on coronavirus for England show that Bolton’s infection rate is once again the highest in Greater Manchester. Despite the number of cases in the town falling, in line with the rest of the region and country, over recent weeks, it has not fallen at anywhere near the same rate as surrounding boroughs.

About 70% of people who apply for financial support to self-isolate due to Covid-19 are rejected, according to data from half of all England’s councils, amid warnings of a “gaping hole” in the government’s approach to the pandemic. A study of 171 local authorities by researchers at the TUC  found that only 36,000 people received a one-off £500 payment out of more than 120,000 applications. In one in four council areas, 90% of people were turned away.

Cllr Sue Haworth Labour lead on health says, “£500 isolation payments are applicable to people on low income like benefits which is causing so many refusals for the payment requests at Bolton and other Councils. The government needs to step in and increase the provision of isolation payments urgently. Many people cannot afford to isolate, putting themselves and others at risk of coronavirus. We need a much more robust and fairer system for isolation that works here if we are going to break these coronavirus rates.”

“The truth is that while we all welcome the impressive vaccination programme we know that we need the Test, Trace and Isolate system in Bolton to be working really well and for some time ahead. If we will be living with variants of Covid for a while here, then we need a system that works that includes people being able to take time off work to isolate with this £500 payment to support them, in order to deal with Covid outbreaks effectively.”

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