AS I write the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases within Bury continues to rise.

The most up-to-date figures show 269 positive cases between September 11 and 17, an increase from 164 the week before.

But some areas continue to have very low numbers of new cases. For example, Ramsbottom had 33 positive cases from June 12 to September 17 and Moorside had 39. What does this mean?

In my view, we cannot look at Covid-19 simply through the prism of these numbers but must have a more nuanced view of the virus if we are to make correct policy decisions.

The Prime Minister is poised to announce further Covid-19 restrictions on our freedoms, intended to reduce the spread of the virus. But is this the right action to take?

I believe the introduction of draconian measures can only be justified if we are seeing an increase in mortality rates and significant hospitalisations.

In a perfect world, we want no-one to be impacted by the virus. But if the evidence suggests the vast number of people who catch coronavirus will have no long-term health effects at all I believe we should be very cautious in implementing measures that could have such a negative impact on our wider economy and fellow citizens.

There has been no recorded death in this country of a child from Covid-19 who was not already profoundly ill, and I have yet to be provided with any evidence of high mortality rates in the working-age population.

At my last weekly meeting with Bury MBC, it was reported that there had not been a Covid-19 related death in the past week.

Since further restrictions were imposed in Bury at the end of July up until the week ending August 28 there were only three cases where coronavirus was mentioned as a cause of death.

In terms of hospitalisations as of September 21, there were 18 confirmed Covid patients at both Fairfield and North Manchester Hospitals.

I applaud the government and council’s efforts to protect the most vulnerable in our community and we must support our brilliant care homes and staff to take the appropriate measures.

Testing of care home staff must be prioritised, and other proportionate restrictions introduced on visits to mitigate the health risks posed.

Of the 243 deaths recorded in the Bury since the initial lockdown 69 were recorded in care homes.

If predictions of potential future mortality rates are accurate then protecting those sectors and cohorts of our community that are particularly vulnerable to the virus is essential and I know the managers and staff at all our care homes are doing a wonderful job and deserve our thanks.

We continue to face challenges in the track and trace system, together with testing which needs to be remedied.

Last week I learned a teacher had to wait over seven days for a test result and this is simply unacceptable. Huge and welcome investments are being made to increase capacity.

The challenges posed by Covid-19 are unprecedented but I believe proportionate.

Targeted measures can protect those within our community who fall within the vulnerable groups, whilst allowing the continued reopening of our economy to preserve jobs.