Monday, September 21, 2020
Home Health Coronavirus UK: Preston set to be next city in local lockdown

Coronavirus UK: Preston set to be next city in local lockdown


Preston could be forced back into lockdown within days amid a spike in coronavirus cases, according to local public health officials.

Government data shows the Lancashire city’s Covid-19 infection rate has more than doubled in the space of a week. More than 34 people per 100,000 were diagnosed with Covid-19 in the week ending July 30, compared to little over 13 per 100,000 the week prior. 

Preston now has the tenth highest transmission rate in the country, having moved up from 50th out of around 350 areas in England in mid-June.  

The city now ranks above several other Lancashire towns already hit with tough new restrictions, including Burnley (16.9) and Hyndburn (17.3).

Lancashire’s director of public health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi has warned residents in Preston to prepare for tough measures to be reintroduced ‘within days’.

The warning comes as Aberdeen was today put back into lockdown, with pubs, cafes and restaurants to shut this evening and residents are banned from travelling more than five miles from their homes.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 54 infections have now been reported in the outbreak — double yesterday’s figure. She said the rise in cases heightens fears the Scottish Government is ‘dealing with a significant outbreak in Aberdeen that may include some community transmission’.

Dr Karunanithi told LancsLive: ‘The number of cases is Preston is higher than we would expect – the test positivity is increasing and is now around 3.4 percent, which puts it into a much more concerning category.

‘If the rates don’t change in favour of Preston, there is no doubt that restrictions will be implemented.

‘If the current pattern continues, then I would not be surprised if similar measures to those in East Lancashire are brought in within a matter of days. There is a weekly review led nationally by the Secretary of State.’

Lancashire¿s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, warned residents in Preston today to prepare for tough measures to be reintroduced 'within days'

Lancashire’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, warned residents in Preston today to prepare for tough measures to be reintroduced ‘within days’

He said the current infection rate in Preston meant there was ‘little room for manoeuvre’ and that rolling back restrictions was the only way forward. 

Dr Karunanithi also urged the hospitality sector to make sure businesses were complying with Covid secure rules.

Although he did not name any establishments specifically, his comments come after a Preston nightclub was able to reopen thanks to a legal loophole.

Switch nightclub was given the green light to reopen on Saturday by Preston City Council after ‘re-purposing’ as a bar.

The move has been subject to criticism after footage emerged of revellers congregating on its busy dance floor and dozens of people queuing in close proximity outside.

Under current national lockdown guidance, pubs and restaurants can open so long as social distancing is maintained, but nightclubs cannot.

Preston City Council initially ruled against the venue reopening, but the club sought legal advice which challenged the decision.

It will take several days to tell if the reopening of the club has actually caused a spike in transmission, but at the moment it remains unclear. 

It is thought people visiting family and friends is largely responsible for the soaring rate, together with outbreaks in care homes. 

Dr Karunanithi urged the people of Preston to follow lockdown guidance already in force in other East Lancashire towns to bring down infections and avoid even tougher rules.  

Footage on social media showed dozens of revellers queued up outside Switch nightclub in Preston

Footage on social media showed dozens of revellers queued up outside Switch nightclub in Preston

Aberdeen is put into lockdown 

Aberdeen has been put back into lockdown as pubs were shut and people were banned from travelling in and out.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the restrictions were brought back after 54 new coronavirus cases emerged after bars were packed over the weekend.

She said 191 contacts have been traced in relation to the cluster, adding the double in cases has contributed to a greater fear their was a ‘significant outbreak’.

More than 20 other pubs and restaurants are involved in the cluster, Ms Sturgeon said.

A five-mile travel rule has been put in place and residents are being told not to enter each other’s houses.

All indoor and outdoor hospitality venues have also been told to finish by 5pm on Wednesday.

It comes a day after the Queen landed at Aberdeen airport where she was met by a driver and whisked off to Balmoral, roughly an hour away.

New measures affecting 4.5million people in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire forbid people from different households from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens.

People in the region are also banned from mingling with different households in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues.

It comes after Aberdeen was today put back into lockdown as pubs were shut and people were banned from travelling in and out.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the restrictions were brought back after 54 new coronavirus cases emerged after bars were packed over the weekend.

She said 191 contacts have been traced in relation to the cluster, adding the double in cases has contributed to a greater fear their was a ‘significant outbreak’.

More than 20 other pubs and restaurants are involved in the cluster, Ms Sturgeon said.

A five-mile travel rule has been put in place and residents are being told not to enter each other’s houses.

All indoor and outdoor hospitality venues have also been told to finish by 5pm on Wednesday.

It comes a day after the Queen landed at Aberdeen airport where she was met by a driver and whisked off to Balmoral, roughly an hour away.

Ms Sturgeon said at a press conference: ‘It could be that what we see here is a pattern which involves people going from one pub to another in the same night.

‘Now it may be that we have to look at some of those lessons to think about whether we need to tighten up some of the restrictions about how hospitality is operating across the wider country.

‘I don’t want to rush to conclusions on that, but equally I want to make sure we are fairly rapidly doing some assessment of that nature. I may have more to say on that later in the week.’

The closure will be backed by governmental regulations, the First Minister said, and will be enforced if the rules are not followed.

Ms Sturgeon added the changes will be reviewed next Wednesday, when she hoped they could be removed if they could, either in entirety or in part.

But Ms Sturgeon said that if necessary they could be extended beyond that seven-day period.

Yesterday the First Minister said she ‘wanted to cry’ over pictures of pubgoers not social distancing at the weekend as 27 cases of were linked to one bar.

SNP MP Stephen Flynn yesterday tweeted two photos he had spotted online of the city centre, where an outbreak took place in The Hawthorn Bar.

The MP said he was ‘scunnered’ by the images, which showed dozens of people queuing to enter pubs in the city.

 NHS Grampian later announced 27 cases of the virus had been linked to the bar, adding it is ‘aware’ of photos being shared online of ‘extremely busy bars’.

Addressing the Aberdeen cluster, the First Minister thanked the owners of the Hawthorn bar, where the outbreak is believed to have started, and said work was being done to address the cluster.

She added the coronavirus outbreak was ‘exactly what we feared’ when the decision was taken to reopen the hospitality industry.

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