Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

Coronavirus: Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson says partying crowds have ‘shamed’ the city

The mayor of Liverpool says pictures of people partying on the street have “shamed” the city.

Joe Anderson posted on Twitter: “These pictures shame our city, attacking our brave police officers is unacceptable.

“Our health service is creaking, 300 in hospital and 30 people dead in week. Ignoring these facts is why we are in Tier 3 measures.”

It follows pictures of crowds ignoring social distancing and dancing in Concert Square last night, one of the city’s busiest nightlife hotspots, ahead of the city entering Tier 3 restrictions today.

The “large crowd” had to be dispersed after pubs closed at 10pm last night – two hours before the tough new coronavirus restrictions were imposed at midnight.

A video posted to Snapchat that showed last night’s crowds was captioned: “Herd immunity, here we come.”

In another piece of footage, apparently filmed from a nearby flat, a police car could be seen driving through a crowd while revellers banged their hands on the side of the vehicle.

Few appeared to be wearing masks or following social distancing measures.

In a statement, Merseyside Police told Sky News that a large crowd was dispersed quickly and safely – and officers were stood down after all businesses in the area managed to close.

“While we understand how the new rules which are due to be implemented today are frustrating for some, we would continue to advise everyone to abide by them – including keeping social distancing – for the safety of everyone,” Chief Superintendent Peter Costello said.

According to the Liverpool Echo, a police car was attacked in Concert Square – with a witness claiming, “a large group of young partygoers were defying every social distancing rule imaginable”.

From Wednesday, Liverpool and the neighbouring five boroughs which make up the city region will be under Tier 3 coronavirus measures, which include the closure of bars, pubs which do not serve meals, gyms, betting shops and casinos.

Residents are also banned from socialising with other households indoors and outdoors, including in private gardens.

Liverpool recorded 3,164 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days to 10 October – the equivalent of 635.3 cases per 100,000 people. This is compared with 555 in the seven days to 3 October.

It has the third-highest number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients in Europe, and more than 95% of the city’s intensive care beds are currently occupied.

Intensive care doctors working in the city told Sky’s Inzamam Rashid that they are “disgusted” by what happened, with one saying: “They don’t care that people are dying from this disease, it is heart-breaking to watch.”

Another doctor told Sky News: “We have limited capacity in our ITUs across the network, but more worryingly, we have people in the corridors on trolleys waiting for beds.

“We are running at 100% capacity. Our Emergency Departments are overcrowded. No social distancing possible.

“I am dreading we are heading towards a disaster. Then you see crowds behaving such a way. I am really devastated and disgusted.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told Kay Burley that the scenes were “irresponsible and really disappointing”.

“It’s gatherings like that which unfortunately don’t help in any way to bring down the escalation of the virus.”

Currently, the Liverpool City Region is the only area to fall into the “very high” alert level – but Sky News understands that a “gold command” meeting is going to be held to decide whether nearby Greater Manchester and Lancashire should also fall into this category.

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