A SUDDEN spike in coronavirus cases in Rossendale has raised fears the valley could go back into strict restrictions.

The number of new cases per 100,000 of people in the borough has more than trebled from 12.6 to 49, after 35 new cases were confirmed.

The seven-day rate of new Covid-19 infections also shows Rossendale now has more case than in Blackburn with Darwen  - which has eight wards under semi– lockdown - where the rate fell from 57.4 to 48.8 as 73 cases were recorded.

The spike came as the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in Bolton and Trafford today was halted by the government because of sharp rises in infections.

Rossendale’s MP Jake Berry, borough council leader Cllr Alyson Barnes and Bacup Tory Cllr Jimmy Eaton all warned residents to take more precautions to stop the spread of the virus or a new clampdown on social gatherings could follow.

Pendle remains the borough with the highest number of infections in England with 66 new cases logged in the seven days to August 29 – 71.7 per 100,000 people.

Cllr Eaton, who represents Greensclough ward, said: “I am concerned by these figures, especially for our young people and the elderly.

“People just are not being responsible and if they do not start being so, I fear that Rossendale will go back into coronavirus restrictions. I am sorry to say I would support that both for the borough and surrounding areas.”

Mr Berry said: “Recent rises in the infection rate in Rossendale are worrying and show that we all have to remain alert and follow basic procedures such as hand washing and social distancing to keep this dreadful disease at bay. I shall be discussing the infection rate in Rossendale with health secretary Matt Hancock and what measures may be needed to keep us safe.”

Cllr Barnes said: "I think we understand where these infections are coming from. There were a large number of cases coming from a pre-school setting in Whitworth, some from a restaurant in Rawtenstall where three customers and a member of staff were infected, and some in Haslingden.

"I don’t know whether Rossendale will go back into tighter restrictions. It depends on what happens in the next few days. Some of these are small outbreaks or clusters. Everyone needs to redouble their efforts on things like hand washing and social distancing."