BORIS Johnson has told Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to “reconsider” his resistance to tough coronavirus restrictions.

The Prime Minister has warned the Labour politician that he will intervene if necessary.

On Thursday, Burnham said the North was “fed up of being pushed around”, claiming the region was being treated “as the canaries in the coalmine” for an experimental regional lockdown strategy.

He accused the Tories placing “some of the poorest parts of England in a punishing lockdown without proper support for the people and businesses affected.”

In a Downing Street press conference yesterday, Johnson warned that without restrictions, people would die.

He said: “On recent trends, in just over two weeks there will be more Covid patients in intensive care than at the peak of the first wave so I urge the mayor to reconsider and engage constructively.

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“I cannot stress enough: time is of the essence. Each day that passes before action is taken means more people will go to hospital, more people will end up in intensive care and tragically more people will die.

“Of course, if agreement cannot be reached, I will need to intervene in order to protect Manchester’s hospitals and save the lives of Manchester’s residents.

“But our efforts would be so much more effective if we work together.”

Johnson cases in Greater Manchester had doubled in the last nine days.

“Some have argued that we should introduce a national lockdown instead of targeted local action, and I disagree,” he said.

“Closing businesses in Cornwall, where transmission is low, will not cut transmission in Manchester.

“So while I can’t rule anything out, if at all possible I want to avoid another national lockdown, with the damaging health, economic and social effects it would have.”

Johnson said he did not want to go back to the “bad old days” when schools were closed and people were forced to stay at home.

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He added: “The amount by which we need to reduce the R is not as big as it was right back in the beginning of the spread of this disease.

“If we all work together on the measures we have outlined, we can definitely do it.”

However, he said the Government stood ready to impose more draconian measures “if necessary”.

It comes after the Government announced that a further 1.5 million people in England will be placed under the toughest coronavirus restrictions this weekend as Lancashire moves into Tier 3.

Pubs and bars will close unless they serve food and alcohol as part of a sit-down meal.

Gyms will remain open despite them being closed in the Liverpool City Region which is also in Tier 3.