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Preston and South Ribble latest infection rates as schools reopening row continues, a ‘tier-5’ considered and UK cases surge

Posted on - 29th December, 2020 - 7:56pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Preston's skyline as viewed from the River Ribble Pic: Tony Worrall
Preston’s skyline as viewed from the River Ribble Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston and South Ribble’s coronavirus cases have been confirmed for the Bank Holiday Monday and Tuesday.

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The city recorded 18 new cases for Monday (28 December).

South Ribble saw 15 new coronavirus cases for the same day.

Wyre was up by 25, Fylde was up by 16 and Ribble Valley recorded 33 new cases.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

New cases for Tuesday (29 December) in Preston were 55.

In South Ribble there were 33 new cases recorded, Wyre was up by 43, Fylde saw 34 and Ribble Valley recorded 43 new Covid-19 cases.

Latest infection rate data shows rates continuing to fall for Preston and South Ribble.

Preston’s infection rate for the seven days to December 25 is 206.8 cases per 100,000 people, down from 242.4 for the seven days to December 18.

South Ribble is now 160.7, down from 192.3 for the same date range.

Fylde has the lowest rate in Lancashire, at 151 which is up from 110.2.

Wyre is up as well, at 165 from 139.2 and Ribble Valley has the third-highest rate in the county with 317 cases per 100,000, up from 267.7 in the previous seven day period.

Read more: Area by area see the coronavirus cases in Preston and South Ribble

UK infections surge, a new tier mulled and school reopening row

The highest daily number of lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has been recorded.

41,385 coronavirus cases were recorded for Monday 28 December.

New cases for Tuesday (29 December) then set a new record, with 53,135 lab-confirmed cases.

Hospital admissions are rising rapidly in many areas across the country.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, said: “This very high level of infection is of growing concern at a time when our hospitals are at their most vulnerable, with new admissions rising in many regions.”

Five of the seven NHS regions in England are currently reporting a record number of Covid-19 hospital patients: Eastern England, London, the Midlands, south-east England and south-west England.

The other two regions, north-east and north-west England, remain below peak levels that were set in mid-November.

Meanwhile cabinet minister Michael Gove has refused to rule out a third lockdown.

Reports in national media suggest a ‘tier-5’ set of measures or another national lockdown are all being considered as the new strain of coronavirus continues to spread rapidly.

The government is due to review the existing tier system, now a four-tier system, on Wednesday (30 December). Preston and Lancashire are currently in tier-3 restrictions with a ban on household mixing, pubs and bars shut along with many leisure facilities. LancsLive has looked at the areas of Lancashire most ‘at risk’ of going into tier-4 restrictions, which would see non-essential shops closed.

Read more: Covid-19 vaccine marshals needed to help in Preston and South Ribble

Health secretary Matt Hancock will address the Commons during Wednesday morning, with a handful of Lancashire areas potentiall moving to tier-4 measures. Preston and South Ribble’s rates mean they are unlikely to move from tier-3, but Ribble Valley is one area tipped to move up a tier.

Mr Gove was on BBC Breakfast and said: “The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) will be making a recommendation to ministers, but I can’t pre-empt that because it obviously has to be a judgment based on the medical situation.

“As you quite rightly point out, the NHS is under pressure and these are difficult months ahead.”

A row is continuing over whether schools should return in January, with education minister Gavin Williamson already announcing a staggered return for the first week of January for secondary schools to enable mass testing of staff and pupils. Exam-year pupils will return to school as normal, and primary schools and nurseries are unaffected.

General secretary of the NASUWT (The Teachers’ Union), Dr Patrick Roach, has written to the education secretary calling for schools and colleges to not reopen until mid-January.

Mr Roach writes: “Delaying the return of pupils to schools and colleges at the start of the spring term will also enable all school and college employers to undertake and consult as required on new risk assessments and ensure that they can be compliant with any new measures or requirements contained in any forthcoming national guidance.”

One of the chief scientists Professor Neil Ferguson has joined calls for a postponement of school re-openings in January.

The member of the government’s new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag) told BBC Radio 4: “Clearly nobody wants to keep schools shut. But if that’s the only alternative to having exponentially growing numbers of hospitalisations, that may be required at least for a period.”

A government spokesperson said: “We’re still planning for a staggered opening of schools and we are working to ensure testing is in place.

“As we have said throughout the pandemic, we obviously keep all measures under constant review.”

Lancashire County Council indicated before Christmas they were keeping school reopenings ‘under review’.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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