THE military could be drafted in to help carry out Bury's surge vaccination and testing programme to drive down rising coronavirus infection rates.

Bury, along with the whole of Greater Manchester, has been categorised as an 'enhanced response area' by the Government today, which pledged help to the region.

Police could carry out spot checks to make sure people abiding by rules.

New guidelines, not enforceable by law, have been issued to residents in Bury, including minimising travel.

The latest infection rate for Bury is 188 per 100,000 people, or 360 new cases in the last seven days, which is double what it was one week ago. The rate is increasing in all neighbourhoods in the borough, and is now the tenth highest in England.

It also means that residents are being advised to minimise travel out of the area, similar to the advice given to Bolton a fortnight ago. People are also being advised to take extra care when meeting people outside of their household or support bubble.

The new help will include having a rapid response team, and the ability to request help from the military and agencies such as the police, who could help to enforce the rules and to support spot checks at workplaces to ensure they are Covid-safe.

It will also help Bury to carry out mass testing of pupils in schools, which has started today.

Bury recommended to its high schools several weeks ago that face masks should continue to be worn in class – and this is now the Government’s official advice.

Councillor Andrea Simpson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We been calling on this extra support for the last two weeks, given that our infection rate has been rising.

“We simply must stop this virus spreading, and we all need to play our part – the last thing anyone wants is another lockdown.

“Go for your vaccination when you are invited, and return for your second dose. Get tested regularly so that we can quickly identify infection hot spots, and self-isolate if you get a positive result.

“And continue to follow the guidance: face, space, hands, fresh air.”

She added: “We are making tremendous progress on vaccinations. Around 115,000 Bury people have had their first jab, and 83,000 have now had two jabs, which is more than half of the adult population.

“We’ve also been out door-knocking at 4,000-plus households in targeted parts of Bury, encouraging them to get vaccinated and tested, and this should help us reach even more parts of our borough.”

Pop-up Covid jab clinics a huge success – and there are more to come

More walk-in Covid vaccination clinics will be set up in the coming few days following the success of last weekend’s pop-up sites.

More than 1,000 people came to the Elizabethan Suite, Prestwich Walk-in Centre and the Noor Ul Islam Mosque in Bury to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Details of the new clinics will be released as soon as possible.