All 56,743 North West cases as experts warn Christmas is ‘at risk’

Thirteen areas of the North West are now on ‘red alert’ as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 56,743.

A total of 474 new positive tests were recorded across Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cumbria, and Cheshire in the last 24 hours.

Public Health England data published this evening (September 8) shows the infection rates are also rising in every Lancashire and Greater Manchester borough, except Pendle.

Eight out of the top 10 highest infection rates in England are in the North West, with Bolton first, Preston fourth, Blackburn with Darwen fifth, Rochdale sixth, Oldham seventh, Salford eighth, Tameside ninth and Manchester tenth on the list.

Bolton’s rate is continuing to soar – the infection rate reached 128.3 per 100,000 cases in the week ending September 5. Strict new lockdown measures were imposed in the borough today, mostly affecting the hospitality sector.

Hyndburn, Bury, Pendle, Burnley and Rossendale feature in the top 20 with all 13 local authorities classed as ‘red alert’ as their infection rates are above 50 per 100,000 people.

There continues to be no Cumbria, Cheshire or Merseyside boroughs in the top 20 list or classed as ‘red alert’ infection status.

The areas managed by Lancashire County Council now have 8,704 positive tests of Covid-19. In Blackpool there are now 1,131 while in Blackburn with Darwen the number has risen to 1,948.

Preston recorded the biggest increase in Lancashire for the second day running with 14 new cases. A total of 78 cases were recorded across all 14 boroughs since yesterday while Cumbria’s tally rose to 3,098 after four districts reported increases.

The data is based on people being tested both through ‘Pillar 1’ – in hospitals – and Pillar 2 – drive-through test centres and swabs sent by post.

No figures have been released showing how many tests have been carried out in each area.

Total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus by North West borough as of Friday, August 28:

There are 11,783 cases in Lancashire, 2,794 in Bolton, 1,712 in Bury, 2480 in Cheshire East, 2,211 in Cheshire West and Chester, 3,099 in Cumbria, 779 in Halton, 1,141 in Knowsley, 3,115 in Liverpool, 4,687 in Manchester, 3,088 in Oldham, 2,418 in Rochdale, 2,004 in Salford, 1,792 in Sefton, 1,347 in St Helens, 2,066 in Stockport, 2,106 in Tameside, 1,782 in Trafford, 1,519 in Warrington, 2,430 in Wigan and 2,391 in Wirral

The figures comes as experts warn Christmas get togethers could be put at risk if the rise in new Covid-19 cases continues.

Ministers are grappling with ways of preventing a second wave after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was concerned about rising infection numbers.

Today, the Department of Health confirmed a further 2,420 cases, with Northern Ireland cases still yet to reveal its numbers. It follows increases of 2,948 and 2,948 in the previous two days.

Professor John Edmunds, who is a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said: “The epidemic continues to increase and then we have Christmas.

“And that is very difficult. What is Christmas? Well it’s meeting with your family very close. Restaurants and pubs and stuff like that.

“It’s all high risk. And it’s all indoors.”

Mr Hancock has warned of a possible second peak of coronavirus following a “concerning” rise in the number of cases.

A recent spike in cases across the country should be a reminder that the virus “remains a threat”, he said.

“This is not over,” he told the House of Commons.

“Just because we have come through one peak doesn’t mean we can’t see another one coming towards our shores.”

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick warned that a national lockdown cannot be ruled out.

Speaking this morning, he said: “There is a concerning rise in cases and it reminds us that we have to keep following the guidance.

“Although we are encouraged to return to the workplace to support jobs, cafes and so on, we need to do so responsibly.

“As we approach the autumn and winter there is going to be even more responsibility on all of us to keep following the guidelines.

“Nobody wants to see a return to full national restrictions of the kind we had earlier this year.”

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has also warned that if people stop social distancing then “Covid comes back”.

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Lancs Live – Cumbria