Lancashire threatened with further lockdown measures unless people follow the rules

Lancashire faces further lockdown measures unless people follow the rules already in place, it was warned today.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 5:18 pm

The three directors of public health (DPH) have issued a stark warning to residents today (September 29): "You must act now to avoid a local lockdown. We are asking you to follow the rules now, so you can enjoy doing the things you love again much sooner."

It comes as the Covid-19 death toll at Blackpool Victoria Hospital rose by two to 249, with the latest patients dying on Monday (September 28).

One death was also recorded in today's figures for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Royal Preston Hospital.

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However, Blackpool's infection rate has fallen over the past week from 72.5 per 100,000 people to 66. In Lancashire, only Hyndburn and Rossendale also saw a fall in rates, with 11 places, including Fylde and Wyre, noting surges.

Currently restrictions ban the mixing of households in private homes and gardens, while pubs and other hospitality venues have to shut at 10pm. Further restrictions cover weddings, sporting events, and gatherings in public.

Sakthi Karunanithi, DPH for Lancashire County Council; Arif Rajpura, DPH for Blackpool Council; and Dominic Harrison, DPH for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, say they are keen to stress the importance of following the rules, citing hefty fines and increased restrictions in the future if people "if people don’t take notice now".

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, said: "The people of Lancashire have sacrificed so much already, and we know that what we are asking of people is tough. But we need to act now to control the spread of the virus, so that more restrictive measures aren’t put in place, we can lift the current ones sooner and ultimately so that we save lives.

Lancashire's three directors of public health (DPH) have united to tell residents one thing - stop mixing with other households now or risk stricter lockdown measures.

"There are rumours that people aren’t getting ill, that hospital admissions are low. From someone who has been working on this from the beginning and speaks to frontline workers in our NHS every day, this is far from the truth. We are starting to see hospitalisations rise, and unfortunately with this, excess deaths will be inevitable, especially as we enter the difficult winter period.

"The restrictions in place now may seem draconian but they are far from a true lockdown scenario. We’re simply asking people to avoid mixing beyond their own households and be responsible. If we all take small steps to achieve that, we will get the numbers down in time."

What the Government's Covid regulations in Lancashire mean:

- You cannot mix with other households in private homes and gardens. The Lancashire Resilience Forum also advises that people do not mix at all with anyone outside of their household or social bubbles.

- Hospitality venues including licensed premises have restricted opening hours (must close between 10pm and 5am) and must now meet legal requirements for how they operate including: taking and retaining customers' details, social distancing, staff and customer use of face coverings (when not eating or drinking), providing QR codes to order food and limiting bookings to six. Levels of fines have also increased for businesses who breach these requirements.

- Face coverings must be worn on public transport including in taxis and when you go shopping unless you are exempt.

- Attending sporting events is restricted with the organisers having to ensure they comply with specific legal requirements to ensure those attending are safe.

- Only 15 people can attend a wedding service and reception - 30 people can still attend a funeral.

- A maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports.

- Large sports events and conferences planned from October 1 will not now take place.