The Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett has taken to social media to voice his anger at the government’s handling of COVID-19 data.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Dennett said that “Matt Hancock claims Councils are receiving all the data we need; this is not true – and health officials here and around the country are unanimous in our calls to have access to the full range of data we need to conduct track and trace, and manage our lockdowns”

The UK Government has faced repeated criticism over their reporting of coronavirus statistics, only beginning to include pillar 2 numbers (cases from home testing kits and the general public) on the 2nd July.

The Office for National Statistics have been releasing retroactive analysis of the data, often one or two weeks behind.

In the letter, addressed to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock and signed by all three Salford MPs (Rebecca Long-Bailey, Barbara Keeley and Graham Stringer), Mr Dennett says: “We are writing to raise our concerns about your statements on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 5 July on which you stated that Councils had access to the COVID-19 data they need.

“This is simply not true.

“The information now shared via the Daily Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 exceedance report provides at best an incomplete picture of the virus locally.

“It does not provide information on the total number of tests, the type of testing, or the setting for that test; it does not include any information on suspected cases, only on
positive test results; information on occupation, workplace, and workplace postcode is generally
missing or incomplete.

“This picture is so unhelpful, we have built our own track and trace case management
platform to fill a gap in the national information and to ensure our DPH has access to good
quality real time information on both suspected and positive cases in the city.

“It is exactly this sort of partial and confused data and information sharing that led to a local lockdown in Leicester and which I would not want to see repeated in Salford, or in any part of Greater Manchester.

“Our Public Health Teams and our communities deserve better.”

At the time of writing, Salford has 1,319 confirmed cases, according to the Government’s pillar 1 and 2 dashboard.

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