New coronavirus guidelines for Lancashire, but no economic lockdown

The restrictions placed on Lancashire as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic have been updated, and while some areas are now under tighter rules the county as a whole has avoided the economic lockdown option.

Rossendale and parts of Blackburn with Darwen have been removed from the area of intervention due to low and reducing levels of coronavirus cases.

However, other districts – specifically the northern part of Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, Burnley, Preston and Hyndburn – remain areas of intervention and will see additional restrictions on socialising remain in place.

In addition, further additional measures will be brought in from midnight on Saturday in parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle to help drive down infections. These include bans on socialising with people from other households and limited use of public transport and restricted attendance at gatherings such as weddings and religious ceremonies.

There had been speculation that a full economic lockdown would be imposed in these areas but that has not yet come to fruition.

Angie Ridgwell, chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, which is leading the response to coronavirus in the county, said: "These measures are being brought in in parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle to avoid a more severe economic lockdown. At this stage, we do not believe that such a blunt instrument would be effective, but be in no doubt that if infections rates do not go down, it is likely that more stringent measures will be brought in.

Lancashire County Council's Director of Public Health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi added: "The vast majority – more than 80% - of coronavirus transmission in these areas is as a result of households mixing. That's why we are putting out a very clear message – do not socialise with people you don't live with. This will prevent you giving coronavirus to your loved ones, putting them at risk of serious illness or even death."