Preston is facing a fresh lockdown within days amid a surge in coronavirus cases, a public health official has said.
Cases of the disease in the Lancashire city have doubled in a week and Preston could follow in the footsteps of nearby east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire by reintroducing stringent lockdown rules.
Lancashire county council’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, expects stricter rules to be imposed in the city in the next few days, with residents already being asked to follow a number of extra measures in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
Data from Public Health England shows the city recorded 49 new cases of Covid-19 in the week to 31 July – equating to almost 35 cases per 100,000 population – which is more than double the week before, with 18 cases recorded in one day alone.
The number is the second-biggest increase behind Blackburn with Darwen, which recorded 119 new cases.
Karunanithi told BBC Radio Lancashire he expected the government to impose restrictions “in the next few days”. “That is my personal and professional opinion, given the statistics, the direction of travel and given the size of the issue,” he said.
Further updates on possible measures are expected on Thursday after a government meeting to discuss local authorities, Karunanithi said.
“We will get to know after that meeting if there are any restrictions that will be brought in or [if] any support will be given to us as well,” he added.
Preston was not included in the official measures enforced by central government, but residents have been advised to take extra precautions. On Friday, guidance was issued by the city council calling on locals to avoid having visitors from another household in homes and to wear face coverings in all indoor public places.