Firefighters, postal workers and volunteers will come together with local authorities to help vulnerable people amid the coronavirus outbreak, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said.

At a press conference following the region's first Covid-19 Emergency Committee yesterday, the mayor said he had been in discussion with the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Brigades Union about firefighters helping to support those identified as vulnerable who may need to self-isolate.

Mr Burnham said: "The cavalry is there and we're getting ready to come forward to support people.

"I want to reassure people we are pooling our resources and our efforts here and putting in place the best support system we can."

He said the fire service could use their existing system of providing "safe and well checks" to the elderly and vulnerable and carry out telephone consultations about their circumstances and needs.

He announced a new website will be set up detailing a community support system where members of the public can offer to volunteer.

The Communication Workers Union has said postal workers would become an additional emergency service in the UK amid the crisis.

Mr Burnham said the services could work together in a "structured way" to provide vital support.

He called for more cash to support councils, which are "under huge strain", and for national stockpiles of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be made available to public service staff, including police officers.

The mayor, who said he had not spoken directly to the Prime Minister about the crisis, also announced a 24-hour helpline will be set up to provide advice and support for businesses.

He said he is in discussion with transport operators and there are plans for buses to run a Sunday service and for trams to run every 12 minutes, rather than every six, but with more carriages.

He said the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is in the process of opening facilities for people sleeping rough to provide single room provision for people who need to self-isolate.

Professor Kate Ardern, lead director of public health for the authority, urged people to follow Government advice about not going to pubs, clubs and restaurants.

She said: "This is about protecting both themselves and loved ones. I wouldn't want to see people not taking social distancing seriously. This is the best thing we can do."

The Greater Manchester Covid-19 Emergency Committee will meet weekly, Mr Burnham said.