Government confirms stricter lockdown restrictions imposed in areas of Lancashire will continue
Strict measures currently in place in Preston, Pendle, Hyndburn, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley and Rossendale will remain in place, the government has confirmed.
Restrictions on household gatherings in parts of the North West, West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Leicester will continue, the Department of Health said.
This means the easing of lockdown rules which are due to come into force on Saturday (August 15) will not apply in Blackburn with Darwen, Preston, Burnley, Rossendale, Pendle or Hyndburn.
The government also announced additional focus will be placed on Pendle and Blackburn with Darwen due to "the level of incidence and positivity rate."
Local leaders are now setting up an enhanced incident team to try and bring infection rates under control, with support offered from the government.
Angie Ridgwell, Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council and Chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, which is leading the response to coronavirus in the county, said:
"The rates of infection continue to rise in East Lancashire and Preston, and these measures announced today are necessary to protect residents.
"I know that these impositions on our lives are not easy and I want to thank everyone who has been following the rules; they are for your safety.
"We need to get the infections rate down and everyone must be responsible so that the additional measures can be lifted. If they do not go down, it is highly likely that more stringent measures will be put in place – something we all want to avoid.
"Coronavirus is affecting all ages and all communities in Lancashire, so we all have to play our part. For people in the areas with additional restrictions you must abide by the rules."
Lancashire Council are urging anyone who lives anywhere in Lancashire to keep their distance from others, wear a face covering where required, wash their hands regularly and engage with NHS Test and Trace if contacted.
"We might not be able to be together but we can work together for ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities and our Lancashire," Ms Ridgwell added.
The latest evidence does not show a decrease in the number of cases per 100,000 people in the area, and the Health Secretary, in collaboration with local leaders, has agreed that the rules must remain in place at present. This will help protect local residents, and allow more time for the changes to have an effect, cutting transmission among households.
Minister for Health Edward Argar said: "I’d like to thank everyone in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester for their continued patience in following these vital rules put in place to tackle the spread of the disease – I know it hasn’t been easy.
"We will review the measures again next week as part of our ongoing surveillance and monitoring of the latest data."
The ban on indoor gathering continues to apply to:
City of Manchester
Blackburn with Darwen
Anyone with any symptoms must isolate immediately and get a test for free by going online or ringing 119.
Find out more about the restrictions by clicking HERE