Lockdown measures could return to Preston by the weekend after a rise in coronavirus cases, Lancashire’s director of public health has said.
Officials in the Lancashire city have warned it could become the latest area to face a local lockdown amid rising infection rates.
Preston recorded 49 new cases of coronavirus in the week to 31 July, more than double the week before when there were 22 – this meant almost 35 cases per 100,000 population.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, the director of public health at Lancashire County Council, said the city had taken action ahead of an expected announcement by the government and Public Health England on Friday.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We’re not waiting for others to tell us what to do here in Preston, we’ve already activated our plans, making more tests available and asking people to avoid social contacts.”
Karunanithi said contacts of people with coronavirus symptoms were being encouraged to come for tests even though they may not have symptoms “so that we can find the virus that is hiding in close contacts and stop the transmission”.
Earlier in the week he told BBC Radio Lancashire he expected the government to impose restrictions “in the next few days”
“That is my personal and professional opinion given the statistics, the direction of travel and given the size of the issue,” he said.
Leicester became the first UK city to go back into full lockdown at the start of July, just as restrictions were eased across the rest of England. In recent weeks areas in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire have all entered local lockdowns following localised surges in coronavirus cases.
The Scottish city of Aberdeen has been subjected to even stricter local lockdown measures than any of the areas in England.
Pubs and restaurants were closed and people were told they were no longer able to travel further than 5 miles from their homes – a rule put in place Scotland wide during the national lockdown.
A spokeswoman for Leicester City Council told the PA news agency the local authority was “at a loss” as to why they had been “tagged on” to the review of restrictions in the North West.
The spokeswoman said the council had expected the city’s restrictions to be reviewed every two weeks and were “surprised” when they were informed the current measures would be reviewed on Friday.
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