FAMILIES registering deaths in the Lancashire County Council area will now have to do it by phone.

The new system aims to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The doctor certifying the death will now electronically transfer the death certificate to the registration service who will then call the family to arrange a suitable time to register the death over the telephone.

This will prevent the family having to make an appointment to go into the registration service office in person.

It applies to Lancashire County Councils 12 boroughs including Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

A similar system also applied in Blackburn with Darwen where people needing to notify a death should ring 01254 588660 to book an appointment to register the death by telephone rather than attend the register office in person.

This new applies to the registration of all deaths, even if the cause is not due to the coronavirus.

Steve Lloyd, Lancashire County Council registration service manager, said: "It's vital that we now move to registering deaths by telephone to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by minimising the need for people to have face to face contact.

"The death of a loved one is always a difficult time, and potentially even more so during the current health crisis. This should make things a bit easier for families, as they will wait for us to contact them and won’t need to come into the office."

The changes aim to minimise any delay in allowing the funeral to take place.