BURY is to finally receive extra support to help drive down the town's alarming coronavirus infection rate.

The town, along with the whole of Greater Manchester, has been categorised as an 'enhanced response area' by the Government because of the high infection rates and the fast spread of the Indian variant in the region.

And as a result 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.

Finer details of the support package are yet to be announced, but Town Hall chiefs are hoping it will include running a surge vaccination programme.

Bury Council leader Eammon O'Brien says surge vaccinations, along with a strong testing system and self-isolation support, is key to driving down infection rates.

He told The Bury Times: "We welcome the fact we are getting extra support.

"I have certainly been calling for this for several weeks. We are still awaiting more details of the extra support and whether or not we are getting the extra vaccines we need for the surge vaccination programme.

"The announcement has come slightly late in the day but overall it is positive.

He added: "The government has to recognise that this is a designated area— in need of support.

"It is no coincidence that the extra support, vaccines and testing has turned the curve in Bolton., the only area in Greater Manchester to have seen this. We need to do this as soon as possible across Greater Manchester and Lancashire."

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.

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 started this week.

The opening of the first walk-in centres over the weekend saw more than 1,000 people turn up for the vaccine.

More pop-up covid jab clinics are set to open and teams, helped by local emergency services, have being go door-to-door to encourage people to get the injection and be tested.

Cllr O'Brien said: "There was a really good uptake from residents.

"We want to reach those communities most at risk and most likely to suffer from the virus, the poorer communities who are more likely to catch the virus and the ethic minority community, with people in that community more likely to end up in hospital, risks we cannot ignore."