This is everything we know so far as the Government is set to announce harsher lockdown rules for parts of Lancashire
Lancashire is preparing for stricter lockdown rules across almost all of the county to combat the transmission of coronavirus.
With parts of the North East having rules imposed from first thing on Friday (September 18), fresh restrictions are now certain in Lancashire, which is on the whole faring significantly worse in the battle against Covid-19.
Parts of the county continue to be ranked in the 10 worst areas in England for transmission of the virus, with public health leaders previously saying « we must not hesitate to bring in control measures swiftly » if the situation worsens.
There will be a ban on household mixing in certain areas, we understand, as well as a public transport warning.
LancsLive understands that new rules will come in across the entire boroughs of Preston, Lancaster, Wyre, Fylde, Chorley, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Ribble Valley, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, and Rossendale.
Hyndburn currently has the third worst infection rate in all of England, with 132 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to September 13.
Burnley has the fifth worst (124.8) while Blackburn and Darwen sits sixth (120.2) in the table no council area wants to top.
There are eight wards to the north east of Blackburn and seven wards in Pendle that currently restrict all forms of socialising between households. This includes pub beer gardens and parks.
But all local restrictions have been lifted in Darwen, southern Blackburn, Hyndburn, Burnley, and Rossendale. Residents in these areas are told to follow national guidance.
In the remaining parts of Pendle there are restrictions banning visits to residents’ homes and private gardens.
There have been calls from those leading Lancashire’s Covid response for central government to introduce new rules confirming « no mixing at all with other households » in any setting, a senior government source has said.
Advice to only use public transport for essential journeys, such as going to work, school, and medical appointments, has also been suggested.
The move is less severe than rules in Bolton and the North East, according to one government source on Thursday, with no plans currently in place to bring in 10pm ‘curfews’ for bars, pubs, and restaurants.
This may come as somewhat of a surprise considering the ‘curfew rule’ will be in place across the North East, which has a significantly lower infection rate than the most worrisome areas in Lancashire.
The rate of infection in South Tyneside is currently 93.4 while it is 81.7 in Gateshead and 64.1 in Newcastle upon Tyne.
As of Friday morning, there are conflicting reports of whether a curfew will be introduced across Lancashire.
Political leaders in Rossendale have voiced their opposition to any new measures in the borough. LancsLive understands this is not the area to voice concerns, with Pendle Borough Council similarly uncertain at extra measures.
It is also understood that last week saw attempts to bring Burnley and Hyndburn back under local restrictions.
The attempts were vehemently quashed, with it happening just a week after both boroughs were brought out of local measures and in line with national guidance.
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But a government source said it is « quite unlikely » that the Government would not agree with request for further intervention.
Responding to LancsLive’s initial article about the new rules expected to come in, a Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council spokesperson said: « We know that there are local media articles circulating about what additional restrictions might come in for Blackburn with Darwen in the next few days.
« We are currently working closely with central government to understand the national position and new recommendations.
« As soon as we are in a position to let you know what these are and how BwD will be affected, we will issue a statement with the full facts. »
Neil Shaw, Chief Executive at Rossendale Borough Council, also took to social media acknowledging LancsLive’s reports. He confirmed the council is fighting against new lockdown restrictions in the district
Mr Shaw said: « To be clear, no leader in Rossendale has called for the introduction of tighter restrictions. The Govt may impose these at some point but we are making the case why they shouldn’t. »
Last Friday, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, told LancsLive « we must not hesitate to bring in control measures swiftly » if the situation worsens.
An official announcement by the Department of Health is expected on Friday (September 18), with the rules going live from Saturday.
No timing has been revealed at this point. Going off of previous announcements, it could be announced at any point.
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