Published On: Mon, Jul 20th, 2020

Blackburn in coronavirus panic as town overtakes Leicester as UK hotspot after cases soar | UK | News

The town has seen coronavirus cases surge in the week leading to July 17 and now has a higher infection rate per 100,000 than Leicester. The borough of Blackburn and Darwen now has 82.6 cases of the virus per 100,000. In contrast, Leicester has a rate of 81.6 per 100,000 according to statistics from Public Health England. 

Such is the surge in cases in the town, local officials have demanded tight measures to enforce social distancing. 

There are also measures which include wearing face coverings in enclosed places to stop the spread of the virus. 

In the last week, cases doubled to 123 after only registering 63 the week before. 

Professor Dominic Harrison, the Public Health England director for the borough has warned cases will continue to rise.

He said: “We should be concerned the figures have gone up, but I entirely expected them to and I expect them to rise again this week.”

Although Leicester is still in lockdown due to its own outbreak, he said he is reluctant to replicate similar measures in Blackburn. 

He added: “We would only use those powers as a very, very last resort.

“We’ve had good co-operation, so I would be very reluctant to use the powers.”

JUST IN: Chilling UK map shows areas most at risk of local lockdowns

Setting out the next stage of the Government’s plans, Health Secretary Matt Hancock delcared the plan was working. 

He said: “We refuse to be complacent about the threat posed by the virus and we will not hesitate to put the brakes on if we need to.

“Our goal is that this should be done through as targeted local action as possible, like we did in Leicester where we can now start to ease the restrictions there.

“And later this week we’ll publish indicative draft regulations which clearly set out the suite of legislative powers that ministers may need to use to intervene at a local level.”

Other areas witnessing an increase i ncases, include Wakefield, Peterborough, Bradford and Heredforshire. 

In order to enforce social distancing measures and regulations, the Government also introduced further powers for local councils and authorities. 

Mr Johnson said: “It has to be right that we take local action in response to local outbreaks – there is no point shutting down a city in one part of the country to contain an outbreak in another part of the country”.

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