“It’s been the most unnatural time, that’s the best way I can describe it,” Mike Naggs says.
The 72-year-old spoke to the Manchester Evening News a bout the coronavirus lockdown while out shopping in Stockport with his wife and grandchildren.
The borough saw a spike in COVID-19 cases over the weekend, with the number of young adults testing positive for the virus emerging as a ‘growing concern’.
Stockport has moved from recording five or fewer cases a day on average through late June and early July to between five and 15 cases per day since last Thursday.
The council’s chief executive Pam Smith said that was partly down to an outbreak at a care home, but there has also been a rise in cases among young adults.
The news comes after tougher coronavirus restrictions were introduced in Oldham after the borough recorded more than 100 cases in seven days.
Mike, 72, isn’t worried about Stockport being at risk of a local lockdown.
“People are out and about again so that’s all it is,” he says.
“It doesn’t worry me really. I’ve never been a worrier.
“I know two people that have had it and they’re fine – so that’s good news.”
Mike says he’s ‘buzzing’ to finally be able to look after his grandchildren again.
He says the lockdown was the ‘most unnatural time’ for him and his family.
“It’s a weird, weird world,” Mike adds.
Unlike Oldham, Stockport’s infection rate has been consistently among the lowest in the region since Andy Burnham began giving weekly updates.
Though the borough’s infection rate continues to be ‘well below’ many other areas, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of cases among people 18 to 25.
Public health bosses said this was a ‘growing concern’, although it does not appear to be limited to any particular district or neighbourhood.
Since the lockdown measures were eased on July 4, people have been able to go out to pubs, bars and restaurants again.
The council has urged people to stick to two-metre rule and younger adults are being encouraged to observe ‘covid-safe socialising’.
Kanar Shokak, from Reddish, says she’s ‘cautious’ about the virus, but believes the best way to stay safe is through good personal hygiene.
“I don’t know anyone personally that’s severely had it”, the 19-year-old tells the M.E.N.
“I’m cautious about it, but at the same time it’s about general hygiene really.”
The 19-year-old works in a restaurant and says it’s been ‘very busy’ since the lockdown measures were eased.
“I wear a mask because I have to,” she adds.
“I understand there’s a world pandemic, but Boris needs to make it clear what needs to be done.
“It’s not completely straight forward, saying ‘you have to do this, you have to do that’.”
Wiktoria Bujanowska, from Heaton Norris, has been working at Tesco during the pandemic.
The 19-year-old also says she isn’t too worried about the spike in cases. She worked through the lockdown.
“I’ve been surrounded by people every day so it doesn’t really make a difference to me,” Wiktoria says.
“I find it strange how they’re saying masks are mandatory now, but I’ve had people breathing in my face already.”
Jennifer Connolly, Stockport council’s director of public health, said that people ‘no matter what age’ should not meet up with anyone if there are any confirmed cases within the household.
“If this is the case households should isolate for 14 days if a household member has been tested positive or has symptoms and is awaiting test results,” she said.
“We encourage everyone in Stockport to comply with NHS test and trace advice, including isolating for 14 days if you are advised to do so following contact with someone who has been confirmed as having Covid-19.”
Stockport council leader Elise Wilson said that the council’s robust outbreak plan – coupled with the test and trace system – allowed it to home in on a specific area of concern.
She said: “It’s absolutely right we put targeted stuff out. We know, because we have a robust plan and robust systems in place it means we can react to it and keep people informed.
“It is a good thing, we have this in place and it’s working.”
Despite the plans that are in place, Sheila Connor tells the M.E.N she still feels ‘very cautious’ about COVID-19.
The 72-year-old lives in Denton, but does her shopping in Stockport.
“Obviously I am concerned that the numbers are going up,” Sheila says.
“I’ve got a little bit braver these last two or three weeks, but I am still a bit concerned, particularly in shops where people aren’t wearing masks.
“I haven’t been on public transport yet.
“I’m still feeling very cautious.”
Sheila says she believes younger people might not ‘see the danger’ of the virus and may have become ‘blasé’.
“The young ones haven’t seen their friends in so long, so it’s only natural they’re going out now,” she adds.
“I just think maybe sometimes the young people don’t see danger.
“I think so much emphasis was put on that it was mainly the elderly and the elderly with underlying illnesses which is why I mostly stayed in.”
Sheila says she believed Boris Johnson ‘lifted too much at one time’ when it came to easing the lockdown.
She adds: “He did it all in one go and I think it should have been staged.
“None of us want to go in lockdown again.
“We don’t want to go through that process ever again so hopefully people keep sticking to the rules.”