September 23, 2020

Coronavirus: Blackburn and Luton ‘areas of intervention’

Coronavirus advisory notice on a billboard outside Blackburn Town Hall Image copyright PA Media
Image caption People in Blackburn have been urged to follow tougher control measures for a month to bring infection rates down

Residents in Luton and Blackburn have been told lockdown measures set to be eased this weekend will not be lifted in the towns.

Public Health England (PHE) data released on Thursday showed both had been marked as “areas for intervention” due to a spike in cases.

Gyms and leisure centres in the rest of England are due to re-open on Saturday.

The leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council said it had already decided to keep leisure facilities closed.

Health officials in the Lancashire town had said a phased lockdown could happen if the virus rise was not halted by Monday.

Council leader Mohammed Khan said: “We feel that accelerating our control measures in this way will assist us to move out of having higher Covid-19 rates even faster- we are grateful for the government’s help in our local plans on this”

Luton council leader Hazel Simmons said: “The safety of the public is the priority for us. Not opening the the gyms as is part of our ongoing work to tackle coronavirus.

“Better not to open or delay opening than opening and then having to close them.”

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption A testing site has been set up at Downside Primary School in Luton

Earlier, Luton Borough Council sent residents in certain postcode areas an “urgent message” urging them to get tested for coronavirus due to a rise in cases in the town.

The National Covid-19 Surveillance Report said an area of intervention was one “where there is divergence from the measures in place in the rest of England”.

It said these areas have a “detailed action plan in place” because of “the significance of the spread” of coronavirus.

The report said Leicester and nearby Oadby and Wigston continued to be areas of intervention.

Meanwhile Pendle, near Blackburn, has been described as an area of enhanced support, while Calderdale, Northampton and Rotherham have become “areas of concern”.

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