Preston and South Ribble’s latest coronavirus cases have been confirmed as we learned Lancashire will remain in tier-3 restrictions for at least another two weeks.Advertisement
New Covid-19 confirmed cases for Prestonn were 36 for Thursday (17 December).
South Ribble’s cases were 30 for the same day.
Wyre saw 37 new cases, the Ribble Valley 16 and Fylde just two.
Read more: Preston and Lancashire will remain in tier-3 restrictions
Preston’s coronavirus infection rate saw a slight rise, now at 218 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to December 13, up from 216.6 for the seven days to December 6.
The infection rate for South Ribble has continued to fall, down to 168.8 from 179.6 for the same date periods as Preston.
See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you
Wyre has seen the infection rate rise, up to 132 from 107.1.
Fylde is also rising, at 120.1 from 105.2.
Ribble Valley has seen a recent surge in cases, and is now at 231.6 up from 151.1.
Political leaders across Lancashire expressed their frustration as any call to change the restrictions to tier-2 was ignored.
A high number of cases in the over-60s was the downfall for any areas of Lancashire moving into the mid-tier of restrictions from tier-3.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons: “I regret having to take the action that we have to take.
“I deem it necessary and there is a strong view right across Government that these actions are necessary.”
See the full announcement from the Health secretary
Mr Hancock pointed to the significant pressures on the NHS in the North West as a factor in the decision not to downgrade any areas in the region.
Preston City Council’s leader councillor Matthew Brown said he wanted the city to be in a ‘strong position to leave tier-3 in the New Year.’
South Ribble’s council leader councillor Paul Foster branded the tiers decision as ‘devastating’.
He said: “As a Council we are behind you and we will do all we can to support you and to continue to lobby Government to change their mind.”
Read more: These are the tier-3 restrictions and Christmas restrictions in full
The government also announced in January there would be a ‘staggered return’ for secondary schools.
High schools in England will be encouraged to roll out mass Covid-19 testing to children and staff.
Exam-year students will be exempt from the staggered return.
Face-to-face education for all students would resume on January 11.
Mr Williamson said: “This targeted testing round will clamp down on the virus as students return from the Christmas break and help stop the spread of Covid-19 in the wider community.”
Local authoritities had been threatened with legal action by the government if they shut schools early for Christmas.
Education unions have branded the move as ‘ministerial panic’ and questioned how the mass testing will be rolled out and carried out by teachers.
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
What do you think of the tiers decision? And the school mass testing? Let us know your views in the comments below