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Preston’s coronavirus infection rate continues to rise while South Ribble and nearly all of Lancashire fall and Prime Minister ‘cautious’ about any lockdown easing

Posted on - 22nd January, 2021 - 8:13pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
A quiet Preston city centre during lockdown Pic: Tony Worrall
A quiet Preston city centre during lockdown Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston’s coronavirus infection rate is continuing to grow as most of Lancashire is seeing infection rates drop.

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The city saw another day of more than 100 confirmed cases with Friday (22 January) seeing 122 new Covid-19 cases.

South Ribble recorded 88 new cases for the same day.

Wyre was up by 53, Ribble Valley 36, Fylde up 64 and Chorley by 70.

Preston’s Covid-19 infection rate is now 503 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to January 18, up from 484.9 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to January 11.

Data for the most recent four days (January 19-22) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

South Ribble’s rate has continued to drop, now down to 451.3, from 527.1 for the same two date ranges as Preston.

Wyre’s infection rate is now 324.7, from 443.4.

Fylde is down to 294.6, from 330.5 and Ribble Valley down to 450, from 560.

Chorley’s infection rate is 355.3, down from 390.8.

West Lancashire is the only other area of Lancashire with a rising infection rate.

Read more: Area by area Covid cases for Preston and South Ribble

A ‘cautious approach’ to any lockdown easing

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered an update to the nation during Friday evening.

In a Downing Street press conference he vowed he wanted to make sure this was the last national lockdown.

He said: “I also think that the British public and British business would much rather we opened safely and cautiously when it was right to do so rather than opening up again and then being forced to close back down simply because the virus takes off again.

“I think that is a far more sensible approach.”

The Prime Minister is facing calls from within his own party to set an exact date for easing restrictions.

The Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of Conservative lockdown-sceptic MPs said ministers “must start easing the restrictions” in March when the top four risk groups should have received some immunity from single jabs.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned even a “very small change” with cases so high could cause a rapid resurgence while chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned against “getting too hooked” on specific dates for easing measures.

Read more: Rapid Covid test centre opens within the Harris Museum

Meanwhile Sir Patrick also warned there was data potentially showing the new Covid-19 variant which emerged in the South East of England was ‘more deadly than the original strain’.

Sir Patrick suggested the new variant could increase the mortality rate by nearly a third for men in their 60s who have Covid-19.

For a thousand people in that group who became infected with the old variant, roughly 10 would be expected to die – whereas with the new variant it might be 13 or 14, with similar increases in mortality rates across the age ranges.

“I want to stress that there’s a lot of uncertainty around these numbers and we need more work to get a precise handle on it, but it obviously is of concern that this has an increase in mortality as well as an increase in transmissibility, as it appears of today,” he said.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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