An MP has written to Matt Hancock asking that the town have coronavirus lockdown rules relaxed in line with neighbouring areas.
Oldham MP Jim McMahon said on Twitter: “I wrote to Hancock to ask that the restrictions in Oldham be changed so that Oldhamers can meet people outside with appropriate measures in place. We’ve been banned from meeting other households outside for five weeks. We cannot become a forgotten borough.”
The Labour MP’s Tweet came after a letter was sent to the health secretary pointing out that Oldham had fewer COVID-19 cases than surrounding areas, but faced harsher lockdown restriction.
The number of mourners allowed at a funeral is 20, compared with 30 elsewhere, and residents are not allowed to meet with friends or family in local parks.
McMahon continued: “The pandemic has already had a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of too many of my constituents, allowing them to meet with their friends and family outdoors and with common sense precautions... will be better for our mental and physical health.”
McMahon said: "I’m not arguing that Oldham should be released from all of the extra restrictions, it’s clear from infection rates that we do have a problem, but we also have to be realistic and recognise that these measures need to be clear and make sense to people otherwise they just won’t trust us.”
He added: ““The pandemic has been hard for all of us, not being able to see our friends and family for months and then having to keep up with changing restrictions.
"Since the social lockdown was introduced in Oldham five weeks ago our infection rate has trebled so my constituents are rightly asking that whether they are having any impact.
“So allowing people to meet outside, with social distancing and other appropriate common sense measures in place, will be good for our mental and physical health.”
McMahon’s letter asks Hancock to rationalise the rules around guests at funerals so that 30 people can attend in Oldham as they can elsewhere, and also that people in Oldham be allowed to meet their friends and family outside with social distancing in place.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told Yahoo News UK: “We work closely with local leaders and public health teams to inform decisions on local interventions, taking into account a range of factors.
“PHE, the JBC and NHS Test and Trace are constantly monitoring the levels of infection across the country.
“We discuss measures with local Directors of Public Health and local authorities, constantly reviewing the evidence and we will take swift targeted action where necessary.”
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