Andy Burnham says he would take a 'more cautious approach' than the government on easing the coronavirus lockdown.

The region’s mayor said he believes that the NHS Test and Trace programme should be 'fully operational' before the current restrictions are eased.

This comes after the Prime Minister announced that a number of lockdown rules in England will be lifted from Monday (July 1).

Speaking at the daily downing street press conference on Thursday, Boris Johnson confirmed that schools will reopen, some non-essential retailers can trade, and up to six people can meet outside.

These changes are the most drastic since the country went into lockdown on March 23.

Lockdown measures have been in place since March 23 to prevent the spread of coronavirus

The government also announced a new NHS Test and Trace system which came into force nationally yesterday. It's aimed at ensuring anyone with coronavirus symptoms - or anyone they have been in contact with - goes into immediate quarantine.

More than 40,000 people have been hired to set up the system, which will initially include a phone bank, but not an app as this continues to be trialled on the Isle of the Wight.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said local lockdowns will be a part of the test and trace system, something which Andy Burnham has strongly opposed.

On Twitter, the mayor was asked: "Andy, where do you stand on Greater Manchester? It is a genuine question.

"What are your thoughts and opinions on Greater Manchester and the North West coming out of lockdown? I did ask earlier. I would be interested to hear your thoughts."

In his response, the mayor said: "I would take a more cautious approach than the Government.

"No significant loosening until Test And Trace fully operational and working properly."

This comes as the death toll in Greater Manchester's hospitals reached 1,800 yesterday (Thursday).

Another 50 patients were reported to have died from COVID-19 in North West hospitals, making it the the UK hotspot and by far the worst hit region.

The figures are roughly double the number of daily fatalities in the South East and Yorkshire and about a third higher than the Midlands.

Mr Burnham also shared figures published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which show the estimated 'R' infection rate by region.

If the rate goes above 1 it means the virus is growing rather than receding.

Mr Burnham said the figures show the UK does not have a 'great deal of room for manoeuvre', which echoes Sir Patrick Vallance's warning that the UK remains in a 'fragile state'.

The mayor told journalists at his weekly coronavirus briefing on Wednesday that he believes the government should not impose local lockdown but should focus on the test and trace system instead.

He has repeatedly articulated his opposition to a region-by-region lift of the lockdown, arguing that it is unworkable and unfair.

"There’s just a lot of concern about how you do this in the current climate when we’re struggling anyway to maintain a sense of buy-in to the big message," he said on Wednesday. "So I think the government needs to tread carefully.

"The key is fielding public confidence in testing and tracing - that is where we will, I think, make the biggest difference here.

"If we rush into a localised lockdown policy then I think it’s a recipe for chaos, to be honest. I think there has been some discussion with officers but I’m afraid very little, in fact no consultation at a political level between government ministers and ourselves.

"We are in the dark as to this policy, even though it will though it will have a major impact on us."