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Preston re-enters England’s top 10 infection rate areas and reaction to lockdown 3 easing roadmap

Posted on - 22nd February, 2021 - 7:39pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Sunset at Preston Marina on Monday 22 February on the day the Prime Minister announced his lockdown easing roadmap Pic: Tony Worrall
Sunset at Preston Marina on Monday 22 February on the day the Prime Minister announced his lockdown easing roadmap Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston has re-entered the top 10 infection rate areas in England – although the city’s Covid rate is continuing to fall.

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Latest figures come as the Prime Minister outlined the roadmap out of lockdown for England.

New cases confirmed for Monday (22 February) showed Preston recorded 60 new Covid-19 cases.

South Ribble saw 32 new cases on the same day.

Wyre was up by 20, Fylde with 22, Chorley with 14 and Ribble Valley with 17.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

The infection rate for Preston is now 234.7 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to February 18, down from 254.3 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to February 11. This moves Preston to 10th in the infection rate table in England.

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

South Ribble’s Covid-19 infection rate is now 163.4, down from 224.8 – for the same two date periods as Preston.

Wyre saw its rate increase slightly to 120.4, from 115.1.

Fylde’s rate is down to 125, from 149.8.

Ribble Valley’s rate is at 128.1, down from 175.7 and Chorley is also down at 165.8, from 200.5.

Read more: See how Preston and South Ribble’s Covid infection rate has changed during February

What did Lancashire’s health chief have to say on lockdown easing?

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health at Lancashire County Council, said: “We are all looking forwrd to getting our freedoms back and today’s roadmap sets this out in four stages until the end of June.

“If we all continue to play our part in following social distancing, hygiene guidelines and follow the advice on test, trace and isolate, we can reduce the risk of more restrictions being placed upon us.

“The people of Lancashire have shown real dedicated and compassion throughout the pandemic and there is clear hope on the horizon if we continue to make the effort to keep ourselves and each other safe.”

What do business groups make of the roadmap?

A statement from Preston’s Business Improvement District said: “Whilst today’s road map clearly sets out the government’s plan to re-open the entire economy, it’s hinged on the four tests being met. This means we all have a responsibility to make it possible.

“We welcome today’s plan, in that it at least provides some clarity and an opportunity for businesses to start preparing to re-open. We would, though, have liked to have seen retail and hospitality businesses given the opportunity to trade, safely, earlier.

“Those busnesses who are not geared up to re-opening, inline with the legal permissions, should still be supported until it’s possible for them to do so.

“Business support, especially for the high street, should be a key factor in the forthcoming budget – we’ve called on the Chancellor to recognise the need to extend the support programmes in place to ensure certain sectors are not disproportionately affected through no fault of their own.

“We look forward to supporting businesses by rolling out our own localised plans for re-opening and welcoming patrons back to the city centre.”

Read more: Bishopgate developers looking for shop and business owners to join Preston city centre scheme

What will be lifted and when?

Boris Johnson promised “the end really is in sight” as he set out a plan to ease England’s lockdown by June 21.

The Prime Minister told MPs the approach was “cautious but also irreversible”, with the impact of the vaccination programme replacing the need for lockdown measures.

The four-step plan would mean a “wretched year” can “give way to a spring and a summer that will be very different and incomparably better”.

See the latest Covid vaccine stats and information

In the first step of the road map, all pupils in England’s schools are expected to return to class from March 8, with wider use of face masks and testing in secondaries.

Socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will also be permitted from that date.

You can watch the government’s latest press conference below

A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.

Other measures include:

– From April 12 at the earliest: shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will reopen.

– From May 17 at the earliest, two households or groups of up to six people will be allowed to mix indoors and crowds of up to 10,000 in the largest venues will be allowed at performances and sporting events.

– Friends and family could finally be allowed to hug each other again, with the road map promising that advice on social distancing will be updated “as soon as possible” and no later than step three.

– From June 21 at the earliest, all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead and nightclubs could finally reopen.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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