THE government is unlikely to impose a local lockdown on all or part of East Lancashire despite the sharp rises in positive coronavirus tests in Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle.

Their respective rates of Covid-19 infections at 41 and 67.8 per 100,000 residents are well short of Leicester’s 114.3.

The number of cases in Pendle has fallen since their peak on July 6 and 7.

Figures in other East Lancashire boroughs are much lower with Burnley’s infection rate 12.4 per 100,000 residents; Ribble Valley 10; Hyndburn 4.9; and Rossendale 4.2.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who ordered the return of lockdown in Leicester, said at the weekend most outbreaks could be dealt with by much more localised measures. These could include re-imposing restrictions on pubs, restaurants, cafes hairdressers, beauty salons and nail bars again.

He made clear there is no set level of infections that would automatically trigger a full re-imposition of lockdown rules.

A spokesman for his department said: “Public Health England, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and NHS test and trace are constantly monitoring the levels of infection across the country, and will work with local authorities to implement additional control measures as appropriate. These decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis, and advice may differ according to the specific circumstances of any given outbreak.”

David Herne, deputy regional director for PHE North-West, said: “The number of new cases of coronavirus in the North West continues to fall but remains under close, active surveillance. Small fluctuations day by day are to be expected and as the background numbers reduce these smaller fluctuations become more apparent.

"We’re working closely with all local authorities to prepare for and manage any potential local clusters and outbreaks.

“There has been an recent increase in cases in areas of Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen. We are monitoring the situation and working closely with the public health teams in those areas.

"We would urge people across Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire to remain vigilant."