Wigan residents expressed anger and bemusement at the Government’s new lockdown restrictions questioning why they should apply to them when they can boast of one of the lowest infection rates in the region.
Figures show that Wigan has a weekly infection rate of 7.7 compared to other Greater Manchester boroughs such as Oldham, at 57.3 and Rochdale at 27.3.
But like their neighbours in areas of Greater Manchester, where there has been a spike, Wigan’s residents find themselves negotiating the new restrictions just when they had put the worst of the lockdown behind them.
Wigan residents expressed anger and bemusement at the Government’s new lockdown restrictions questioning why they should apply to them when they can boast of one of the lowest infection rates in the region
Figures show that Wigan has a weekly infection rate of 7.7 compared to other Greater Manchester boroughs such as Oldham, at 57.3 and Rochdale at 27.3. Pictured: Mobile testing site in Blackburn
Keith Roby, 56 who works for a manufacturing company in Wigan told MailOnline: ‘We’re one of the ten boroughs that make up Greater Manchester and are paying the price for what is happening in some of them where coronavirus rates have increased.
‘It doesn’t seem right that we are being penalised like this. It was hard enough during the first lockdown and now could be on our way to another one. Wigan is a self-contained area, it doesn’t have a large population and I don’t see why these restrictions are being imposed on us?’
Mr Roby revealed that he had been planning his son’s 18thbirthday next week to which 12 people had been invited.
Wigan (shown as number 16 on the map) is on the edge of the newly reimposed lockdown area despite having a significantly lower rate of infection than other areas like Manchester and Blackburn
He added: ‘We’ve had to cancel that now and my son’s absolutely devastated. He was really looking forward to it.
‘We could all go and celebrate in a pub, where there will be lots of strangers but for some bizarre reason, we cannot have a group of people we know over to our house, where we could have sat in the garden. It’s insane.’
Denise Whittle, 52 who suffers from asthma said: ‘I’ve been taking lots of precautions and so have a lot of other people in Wigan. I’m not happy about what the Government have done. It doesn’t make sense and it’s very unfair.’
Ms Whittle revealed that since the easing of the lockdown, her three grandchildren have been visiting her.
She cried: ‘All that is now going to stop and I’m heartbroken. I had just got my grandkids back and now they are being taken away from me again.’
Charli Hitch, 32, a fund raiser for the Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘Wigan can be quiet at the best of times but ever since the easing of the lockdown, it’s been even quieter.
‘The buses are empty and the shops and pubs not that busy. If you look at our infection rate, it’s very low and I think the Government should have a more targeted approach to tackling coronavirus. You cannot treat the whole of Greater Manchester as one big unit.’
Paul Foster, 66 a joiner, who had just completed his weekly shop in a supermarket in the centre of Wigan felt that the new restrictions for the ‘benefit of everyone.’
Government statisticians today admitted there is ‘now enough evidence’ to prove Covid-19 infections are on the up, calculating that 4,200 people are now catching the virus each day in England alone
Blackburn with Darwen – the worst-hit authority in the country – will be subject to the new rules, as will Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees as well as all of Greater Manchester
He added: ‘It’s a bit of pain but we’ve all got to pull together at a time like this. We can’t just think about ourselves. There’s a danger that infection rates will increase across Greater Manchester and the surrounding region, so we all have to unite and make sure this doesn’t happen.’
Simon Foster, 46 who works in a school administration department said: ‘Wigan’s coronavirus stats are very low and that’s a good thing. But the Government haven’t taken this into account and that’s a bit daft. They seem to be making it up as they go along and say these new restrictions are necessary; so, who am I to argue?’
Chemical worker Andy Barnes, 27 blamed young people in Greater Manchester for the spike in coronavirus cases claiming that Wigan too could go the same way as other boroughs.
He moaned: ‘The youngsters are carrying on as if nothing’s happened. They don’t have any regard for maintaining coronavirus guidelines. They’re a bunch of idiots but so too are the Government who act first and think later.’