British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for Prime Minister's Questions in London, Britain, May 20, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)
Longstanding health inequalities in the Liverpool area mean residents are significantly prone to the physical and financial impacts of COVID-19, according to a Liverpool City Region report.
LONDON, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Liverpool made a desperate plea Tuesday to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a financial lifeline to cope with COVID-19 epidemic.
In a direct letter to 10 Downing Street, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the six city and borough political leaders warned that recovery from the local health, economic and social crisis caused by COVID-19 represents the greatest challenge for the area since 1945.
They said the area has been experiencing higher infection and mortality rates than average.
In a report detailing its plight, Liverpool City Region says fighting the novel coronavirus over the next six months will cost an estimated 341 million pounds (419 million U.S. dollars).
National Health Service (NHS) staff members gather outside the Royal Liverpool University Hospital for the weekly "Clap for Our Carers" campaign in Liverpool, Britain on April 23, 2020. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)
"With only 100 million pounds (123 million U.S. dollars) allocated so far from the central government, concern is growing that local authorities here are staring into a funding black-hole of almost a quarter of a billion pounds (3 billion U.S. dollars)," the report alerted.
Longstanding health inequalities in the Liverpool area mean residents are significantly prone to the physical and financial impacts of COVID-19, the report said.
"This is expenditure that we haven't made by choice, but by necessity. We are putting food on the table for families who would otherwise go hungry, housing the homeless, co-ordinating a massive volunteer response, supporting those who are out of work due to the crisis, supplying PPE to our frontline workers and care homes, keeping transport running for essential journeys and doing everything we can to help local businesses stay afloat," said Rotheram.
Liverpool Football Club's Anfield Stadium is locked and empty as sport events continue to be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic in Liverpool, Britain, May 2, 2020. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)
"For an area still fighting its way through funding cuts, whilst managing higher levels of deprivation and illness than other areas in the UK, it is a monumental task," the mayor added.
Rotheram said the sums of money involved are a stark indication of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities in the Liverpool area.
"As the nation looks hopefully towards the recovery phase of this crisis, local leaders are warning that the Liverpool City Region will find it almost impossible to bounce back if its local authorities are devastated by funding deficits running into hundreds of millions and are not supported by government," he said.
Local statistics show the COVID-19 infection and mortality rate across the city region is 353.1 per 100,000, significantly higher than the England rate of 259.0 per 100,000.
The mortality rate in Liverpool of 81.8 per 100,000 people is the highest amongst all of England's core cities, and more than twice the national rate of 36.6 per 100,000. Birmingham is next highest at 77.5 per 100,000, followed by Manchester at 59.8.
While infections and deaths are reducing, it appears Liverpool is not coming down the other side of the epidemic curve as fast as other areas and regions, the report added. ■