Public health chief says new coronavirus variant is likely to already be in Lancashire

Posted on - 22nd December, 2020 - 12:25pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston buildings & attractions, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Preston skyline Pic: Mick Gardner
Preston skyline Pic: Mick Gardner

It is believed that the new coronavirus strain is already in Lancashire.


The new variant has meant that much of London and the South East have been placed in tier-4.

A Facebook livestreamed press conference by Lancashire County Council showed that there are concerns of rising coronavirus cases will lead to tier-4 restrictions in the county.

Read more: Preston and South Ribble’s latest coronavirus infection rates as concern grows around those who left tier-4 areas

Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health, Lancashire County Council said: “There is a high likelihood that the new variant is now in Lancashire.

“Please avoid mixing with different households, there is no scientific reason why we should mix with households.

“Just because we could doesn’t mean we should.”

Cases have been rising in Lancashire since the end of the second lockdown.

This rise may lead to the county being placed in tier-4, despite being in the tightest restrictions for the last few months.

However, Dr Karunanithi added: “There is a chance we can avoid a tier-4 or at least delay it.”

Read more: Christmas restrictions for Preston and Lancashire will only allow Christmas Day indoor meet-up

During the press conference, experts asked that those travelling to Lancashire from tier-4 areas to still act as if they are in those restrictions and self-isolate.

However, the remaining household of that person can still adhere to tier-3 restrictions.

Angie Ridgwell, Chief Executive and Director of Resources, Lancashire County Council said: “If anyone is in doubt about whether or not they’ve got Covid we encourage them to get tested.

“We have wide spread testing, we have the vaccination programme and we have the responsible behaviour of our residents.”

Read more:Preston Muslim Cultural Centre donates 220 food bags to Broadgate school

She also said that 12,000 people have now received the vaccination in Lancashire.

People in tier-4 areas were told at the weekend in a government press briefing that they are not allowed to mix with other households during the Christmas period.

It was also mentioned in the conference that schools returning as usual will also be kept under review.

Preston’s current rate of infection per 100,000 over the last seven-days is 250.1, which is a rise from previous data.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information

England’s rate stands at 299.2, also an increase.

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

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