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Preston’s coronavirus infection rate reaches new low and debate over government seeking to extend lockdown powers until October

Posted on - 21st March, 2021 - 7:48pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Tree lined walk at Haslam Park Pic: Tony Worrall
Tree lined walk at Haslam Park Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston has reached its lowest coronavirus infection rate at any point in both the second and third national lockdowns.

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Blog Preston has been tracking the Covid infection rates in the city, and for South Ribble, since late October.

And the lockdown restrictions are clear to see in how the infection rate has dropped further in the past week.

The weekend Covid cases

Confirmed cases for Saturday (20 March) saw eight new cases for Preston.

South Ribble recorded 17 for the same day.

Wyre was up by seven, Fylde by four, Ribble Valley by three and Chorley recorded six cases.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

Sunday (21 March) saw Preston record 22 new coronavirus cases.

South Ribble saw 19 cases for the same day.

Wyre was up by nine cases, Fylde by seven, Ribble Valley by 10 and Chorley recorded 11 new cases.

Read more: Preston soldier to do 48-hour march in memory of his mum who died from coronavirus

How Covid infection rates have changed

The shape of the graph below shows how Preston’s infection rate has now reached a new low.

South Ribble’s Covid rate saw a slight rise between 8 March-13 March but has now dropped away again.

Both Preston and South Ribble’s rates are nearly half what they were during the Christmas period before infection rates began to rise rapidly in late December.

You can see how the infection rate has changed in the chart below or tap here.

Covid law to enable lockdown rules due for extension

The government is seeking to extend lockdown powers in England.

MPs will be asked to vote on the Coronavirus Act being extended until October.

But senior Tories from the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) have raised concerns over how such a move is consistent with the Prime Minister’s pledge to restore the country’s freedoms as the vaccine programme rolls out.

Read more: Free face masks, deep cleaning and more planned for Preston city centre when shops re-open on April 12

Former minister Steve Baker, the CRG’s deputy chairman, said he expects to vote against the measures on Thursday.

Asked about the size of the Conservative rebellion, Mr Baker told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News: “It’s very difficult to say until we’ve seen the exact detail of what the Government is tabling and how the votes will come.

“Let’s be absolutely clear, because it seems Labour and the SNP will vote for any old authoritarianism these days, it looks like the Government will get their business with an enormous majority.

“But I do think it’s important that some of us do seek to hold the Government to account with these extraordinary powers.”

Mr Baker, in a separate statement, also said: “With so many vulnerable people now vaccinated, people may ask why the restrictions the Government is bringing in this coming week are tougher than they were last summer when we didn’t have a vaccine.

“The detention powers in the Coronavirus Act are disproportionate, extreme, and wholly unnecessary.

“Renewing them would not be reconcilable with the Prime Minister’s guarantee that we are on a ‘one-way road to freedom’ by June 21.”

See the latest coronavirus vaccine rates near you

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace defended the Government’s plans, telling Sky News: “The final mile is the most important thing for us all, make sure we buckle down, get through the different stages the Prime Minister set out.

“At each stage we will be taking assessments from the science, from where we are in the pandemic, and take the steps required.

“It is not a one-way street. Just because we are seeking to extend the powers doesn’t mean we are deaf to how facts change on the ground.”

For Labour, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said there are powers within the Act which need to be debated to assess if they are necessary.

She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “What the vote is this week is about the road map, about easing the road map, it’s about statutory sick pay, it’s about the ban on evictions, all measures that we’ve pushed for, we certainly won’t be standing in the way of the Government in getting this legislation passed.”

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