TWO East Lancashire boroughs have switched positions on the coronavirus infections table - with Pendle now recording the highest rates in the country.

A huge jump in infections has led Pendle Council leader Mohammed Iqbal to ask the government for more support in tackling the rise - stating there is ‘only so much’ a local council leader can do.

The rate, which has jumped from 44.5 per 100,000 in the seven days to July 31 to 96.6 in the seven days to August 7, was calculated after the borough recorded 89 new cases.

Blackburn with Darwen has now moved down to third spot on the table, with Oldham sandwiched in between the two East Lancashire boroughs.

The figures, for the seven days to August 7, are based on tests carried out in laboratories and in the wider community, with the rate expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent three days has been excluded as it is incomplete.

While Blackburn with Darwen no longer sits at the top of the table infections rates have increased slightly from 78.8 per 100,000 to 80.2 after 120 new cases were discovered over the latest period.

Councillor Iqbal said: “I’m asking the government to give us more testing resources and financial assistance to get through this.

“I know from speaking to people that not everybody is able to adhere to isolation and quarantine rules, we have people testing positive for Covid-19 yet going to work anyway as they have no other form of income and need to put food on the table.

“This has got to stop but we can only do this with support from the government – these people may well need financial incentive to stay home and keep the spread at bay.

“In terms of testing we are carrying out the most in the North West, so it is clear that the number of cases will go up. It is a cause for concern, but we are working flat out to get as many people to the centres as possible.

“We have mobile testing units in the heart of Nelson, Brierfield and Colne and we’ve asked the government to give us more – ideally I want everyone tested but without those resources, that becomes an issue.”

The council leader also raised concerns over the effectiveness of the track and trace system, saying he knew someone who tested positive who was never contacted. “How we supposed to keep tabs on the virus?” he added.