LANCASHIRE is not in immediate danger of facing local lockdown like Leicester - but people still need to act responsibly when restrictions are further eased this weekend.

That was the message from the senior figures co-ordinating the county’s response to coronavirus as they prepare to enter the next phase of dealing with the pandemic.

Lancashire County Council’s director of public health, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, said that people should “enjoy” the forthcoming lockdown-lifting measures, while remaining “careful and cautious”.

He also warned that the county needed to work “doubly hard” to prevent a second spike in cases, because of a continued higher infection rate compared to many other parts of the country – and he appealed to everybody to “play their part and do it for Lancashire”.

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, places of worship, cinemas, libraries and museums are amongst the venues which can reopen their doors this Saturday – provided they have a plan in place to keep staff members and the public as safe as possible.

National health chiefs have revealed coronavirus infections are rising in 36 areas causing concern, with Leicester chief among them. In the North West only Wigan has been named as being at risk of being put in 'local lockdown'.

Latest figures show that in the week to June 21, between 26 and 30 cases of Covid-19 were detected across the whole of Lancashire for every 100,000 people.

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Its current infection rate means that it is no longer sitting in the top bracket on an England-wide heat map of that measure – it is now in the third tier of six.

Daily case numbers and Covid-related deaths are also maintaining a downward trend.

Dr Karunanithi said that he was hopeful that Lancashire could avoid the kind of localised lockdowns now being proposed in places like Leicester to quell further outbreaks.

He said: “Our approach is much more of a graduated response – it starts with education and engagement and, where necessary, engineering measures to reduce transmission of the virus – and only when it’s really needed would we want to be closing down businesses and other settings.”

County Hall’s chief executive, Angie Ridgwell, said this weekend's reopenings marked the start of Lancashire “learning to live with coronavirus” and bringing back some degree of normality to people’s lives.

“We don’t want people to be afraid to go out – in fact we would encourage them, but they need to do that knowing that the virus hasn’t gone away and they need to act responsibly.

“That means making sure that they maintain social distancing, take all the advice that is given to them about wearing facemasks and washing hands and do not go out if they’re infected,” said Ms. Ridgwell.