BOSSES of the East Lancashire borough with the nation’s highest coronavirus infection rate believe it will start to fall during the four week pause in easing lockdown restrictions.
They say measures introduced to combat the Delta variant first identified in India are working in Blackburn with Darwen.
And the council’s leadership team is confident that the government’s decision on Monday to delay the move to Step Four of its roadmap out of lockdown gives the borough an ‘opportunity’ to get on top of the virus.
Blackburn with Darwen has been top of the list for Covid-19 infections after overtaking Bolton at the end of last month.
A total of 897 coronavirus cases were recorded in the local authority in the seven days to June 10 – the equivalent of 599.2 cases per 100,000 people
.Although this is up week-on-week from 548.4, it is below the figure of 666.7 recorded for the seven days to June 7, which was the highest for the area since the middle of January.
Since June 7, the seven-day rate of new cases has dropped on each successive day.
Now council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan, adult services director Sayyed Osman, and director of public health Professor Dominic Harrison have issued a joint statement expressing optimism for the future of the borough’s battle to get coronavirus rates down in the coming month.
It says: “We recognise the government has made a very difficult decision. We feel it is the right decision.
“We have been fighting the rate rise in our borough since May and know from experience just how difficult it is to balance concerns about the Delta variant.
“The rest of the country is now seeing an increase in Covid case rates similar to the rises already seen here and in other parts of the North West such as Bolton. This delay presents Blackburn with Darwen with an opportunity.
“The support we have had in surge testing and extra vaccinations for over-18s over the last four weeks is having an impact.
“Although we have seen increases in positive Covid cases, our rate of increase is now slowing, and we expect to see this improve until our case rates eventually plateau, and then begin to decline.
“We need to make the most of this opportunity. We urge all our residents to pull together and do everything they can to help get control of our virus rates now.
“It’s also vital that everyone takes up the offer of the vaccine.
“If we all do our bit, within another four weeks the picture in Blackburn with Darwen could look very different.”
Pupils in the borough’s schools are being encouraged to take voluntary ‘surge’ PCR tests to combat the spread of the virus.