A COUNCIL boss says people in Bury can help to stop the spread of coronavirus - and support an economic recovery for the borough.

Bury North MP James Daly, in his weekly column for the Bury Times, has expressed misgivings about the current crop of restrictions, which will see bars and restaurants close at 10pm and the new 'Rule of Six' apply for socialising.

Mr Daly has cautioned against "draconian measures", as some parts of Bury continue to have very low numbers of cases and for a month, after restrictions were imposed at the end of July, only three local deaths cited coronavirus as a contributory cause.

Borough council leader Cllr Eamonn O'Brien, who has already outlined the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the town hall's coffers, has a different view.

He told the Bury Times: "Whilst I appreciate James Daly disagrees with the Government's strategy on this, and the scientific and medical experts who inform that strategy, the council remains fully committed to taking the best possible approach to keeping people safe and supporting the local economy. I do not believe that the two are mutually exclusive.

"For the Government's strategy to work, they must do more to support local businesses and workers - particularly in the hospitality and culture sectors - sort out testing, and improve the track and trace system.

"To be clear, there is not enough testing capacity and the national track and trace system is missing too many people. By doing all of this, we can begin to bring down the numbers and find credible alternatives to more restrictions.

"As it stands, whether you agree or not with the Government's strategy, it isn't working well enough. The consequences of that are yet more restrictions with no extra support for those who need it most.

"My efforts will be focused squarely on working constructively with the Government to fix their strategy and lift the restrictions as soon, and as safely, as possible."

Mr Daly said in his column: "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."

He accepted that improvements had to be made to the test and trace system after he heard how one local teacher had to wait seven days for results to come back.

He also called for priority to be given to testing within care home settings.

Mr Daly added: "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."