EAST Lancashire councils are to get millions of pounds to set up local test and trace systems to tackle coronavirus as lockdown eases.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough will receive £1.36million of £300m announced by the government on May 22 pay for local authority teams to support the national programme.

Lancashire County will get £6.36m to be shared with its 12 district councils including Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s public health director Professor Dominic Harrison has welcomed the cash allocation as vital to manage an increasing test and trace workload.

The local authority systems will be used to develop tailored outbreak control plans; identify and contain potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools; and ensure testing capacity is deployed effectively to high-risk locations.

The councils will also use the cash to analyse local data, tailor advice to local needs and provide continued support for the coronavirus community help hubs supporting those required to self-isolate if they test Covid-19 positive or are identified as a contact.

Prof Harrison said: “We welcome the funding for this important new service.

“The Test and Trace system is already up and running in a very limited format and it is developing rapidly.

“ It is a relief to be finally be given some resources to be able to manage what is going to be a very significant demand over the next two years or so.

“The really big test for the new test and trace system is likely to come when the national app is launched.

“This is likely to generate many more cases and outbreak referrals to Local Authorities for what is called ‘consequence management’ (following up and supporting local workplaces etc to manage an outbreak).

“We welcome the challenge and will need all the support we can get for managing any local outbreaks.

Health minister Nadine Dorries, said: “Local authorities play a vital role in the effort to contain Covid-19 in their communities. The funding awarded will help each local area work hand in hand Public Health England and contact tracers to focus on the containment of local outbreaks, to control this virus.”