Andy Burnham thanks Scottish Government for lifting Manchester Covid travel ban

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has thanked the Scottish Government for lifting a controversial travel ban between Scotland and parts of northern England, including Manchester.

Existing rules on travel between Scotland and Manchester and Salford – which came into effect on June 21 – will be eased at midnight. A travel restriction on Bolton – in place since May 24 – is also easing.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that due to cases being equally high in Scotland as in the Manchester region, there was no longer any need for restrictions.

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A travel ban between Scotland and Manchester, which angered Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, is to be lifted

Mr Burnham hit out at the Scottish Government when the rules were put in place, claiming that neither he nor his administration were contacted before the announcement. He said he would be looking for his constituents who planned to travel north of the border to be financially compensated by the Scottish Government.

However, Mr Burnham on Tuesday thanked the Scottish Government for lifting the ban.

He said: “I had serious concerns about this travel ban and the way it was introduced and I have made these concerns clear in recent days.

"I am grateful to the First Minister and to the Scottish Government for listening and for the decision they have announced today to lift the travel ban on Manchester, Bolton and Salford.”

Restrictions will remain in place in relation to travel between Scotland and the area of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, which the Scottish Government said continues to experience “concerning” case rates of the more transmissible Delta variant. The arrangements affecting that area will be reviewed next week.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Nobody wants travel restrictions in place for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

“Placing restrictions on travel between Scotland and parts of north west England was only taken after extremely careful consideration and analysis of data to help prevent the spread of variants of concern.

“Following a careful review of the data we have decided to ease travel arrangements between Scotland and Manchester, Salford and Bolton. However the situation regarding Blackburn and Darwen will need to be closely monitored and will be reviewed again in a week’s time.”

The easing of restrictions on Manchester, Salford and Bolton comes into effect on Wednesday.

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