Preston 'will go into lockdown in days' after surge in coronavirus cases and fury over nightclub re-opening
PRESTON could be plunged into fresh lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus cases and fury over a nightclub re-opening.
The city is now teetering on the brink – with the strict measures potentially slapped on Preston within just days.
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The ramped-up lockdown rules would see Preston follow in the footsteps of nearby East Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire.
Covid-19 infections have doubled in the city in the week to July 31 from 22 to 49 – almost 35 cases per 100,000 population.
And the worrying number is the second-biggest increase behind Blackburn with Darwen, which recorded 119 new cases.
Alarmingly, there was a staggering 18 cases recorded in one day alone.
Lancashire's director of public health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi has now warned new lockdown rules could be imposed in a bid to slow the spread.
And he fears the measures could come in the "next few days" following a government review meeting tomorrow.
He told BBC Radio Lancashire: "That is my personal and professional opinion given the statistics, the direction of travel and given the size of the issue."
It comes amid fury after a nightclub became the first to re-open in Britain during the crisis – despite the city teetering on the edge of lockdown.
Switch threw open its doors to allow hundreds of revellers to let loose for £200-a-head.
Footage showed boozers stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the busy dancefloor.
Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods, of Lancashire Police, was among those who slammed the decision.
He said to "open a venue of 500 young people with drink is just not helpful at all".
And he branded the move irresponsible as Preston was "on the cusp of restrictions this week".
Locals also blasted the re-opening, which came after Preston City Council made a last-minute U-turn on Saturday.
This was despite the government ruling nightclubs must remain shut despite coronavirus lockdown measures easing.
In a statement Switch’s owners said they had always planned to get the club back open but as a bar – rather than a nightclub.
They explained: “It is, and has always been, our intention to reopen and repurpose Switch to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience… even if it's as a bar.”
Preston is close to Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, which have already been hit with lockdown rules.
A major incident was even declared in Greater Manchester after coronavirus infection rates rocketed.
Mayor Andy Burnham called for a return to shielding, while senior figures scrambled an emergency ‘gold command’ meeting to ramp up the region’s response to the outbreak.
Infection rates for the week to last Thursday – when the new measures were introduced – show cases per 100,000 people still rising in every part of the lockdowne zone.
Those in Manchester and Tameside have more than doubled in seven days, while Oldham's remain the highest and the fastest-growing.
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