AS Lancashire emerges from the coronavirus lockdown, a group set up to deal with emergencies in the county has outlined what life will be like. 

The Lancashire Resilience Forum has announced its new longer-term strategy which aims to enable residents to return to a more normal day-to-day life.

Chief executive of Lancashire County Council Angie Ridgewell, who replaces Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods as chair of the forum, emphasised that the new strategy would be marked by a distinct change from earlier in the pandemic period.

It will see the forum take a much more low key, civilian approach as opposed to police-led approach. 

She said: “We are changing to a longer-term view from the last three to four months focusing on response to the virus as the pace of change settles down and less guidance is coming down from government.”

The forum hopes that residents will be able to enjoy more freedoms and have less to fear from the virus, however Ms Ridgewell was keen to stress that, although the national alert level has been reduced from four to three, people must retain a degree of caution.

She said: “I think we need to remember across the country as well as locally we need to remain alert at all times.

“The virus will be with us until we find a vaccine.”

Lancashire director of public health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi expressed similar, cautiously optimistic sentiments.

He said: “Nationally it is still alert level three which means that while it's not going up there’s still a high level of transmission and Lancashire is one of those places with a high rate of transmission.”

He added: “As the lockdown lifts, we need to be extra cautious, support businesses but also when there are cases to make sure that they’re taken for testing and we’ll continue to address that more so in Lancashire.”

Dr Karunanithi acknowledged that black and minority ethnic people, as well as people from deprived communities, have proved more susceptible to the virus and that the crisis has been particularly acute in the care sector.

He also confirmed that as lockdown lifts, it is likely that there will be an increase in the rate of cases over the next four to six weeks.

However, he said that though the position in Lancashire remains fragile it is, overall, an improving one.

Dr Karunanithi said: “We don’t want people to be afraid to go out, in fact we would encourage people to, but they need to remember that the virus has not gone away and they need to act responsibly.”