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Manchester lockdown sparks north-west England ‘identity’ crisis

Baffled residents of Cheshire have been discovering they actually live in Greater Manchester as regional lockdowns in the north west of England are enforced.  

A major incident was declared by authorities in Greater Manchester this week following a rise in the number of coronavirus infections and with it has come revelations about the region’s geographical boundaries.

New measures in the north west forbid people from different households from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens, while also banning separate households from mixing in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues.

Out of the top 20 worst affected local authority areas for Covid-19 infections in England, Greater Manchester boroughs – home to almost three million people – comprise more than a third of the list, with seven entries.

However, there has been confusion on social media over Greater Manchester’s geographical boundaries, with many appearing unclear over whether they live in areas affected by the restrictions.

Those in the south of the region in particular, in areas such as Altrincham and Stockport, have revealed how they have always put Cheshire as their address, but are in fact part of the Greater Manchester area, and therefore must comply with the new rules.

Many took to Twitter to mock those unaware of their location, while others accused users of trying to sound ‘posher’ by claiming they were from more affluent areas, such as those seen in ITV’s glamourous reality show, The Real Housewives of Cheshire. 

One joked: ‘Proving to people who claim they live in Cheshire, that they do not, and instead live in Greater Manchester has made this entire pandemic worth it. Get lost Altrincham.’

A second added: ‘The number of Stockport residents across social channels asking if it’s in Greater Manchester or Cheshire is quite depressing. Imagine not really knowing where you live.’ 

Another quipped: ‘Looking forward to the new series of Real Housewives of Greater Manchester’.

The area was previously referred to as SELNEC, made from the initials of ‘South East Lancashire North East Cheshire’, but the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester was then established in 1974, creating boundaries between many towns and villages. 

It comes as it emerged today 80 per cent of new Covid-19 cases in one badly-hit part of Greater Manchester are among white people.

Councillors in other parts of the North West — including Blackburn — have warned spikes in coronavirus cases are being driven by the Asian community.

But Eleanor Roaf, director of public health in Trafford, says cases in the borough — home to 235,000 people — are centered in the ‘nice leafy suburbs’. 

She fears a ‘complacent white middle class’ will wrongly believe the disease is ‘not affecting them because it’s about overcrowding in ethnic minority families’. 

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