RIBBLE Valley residents are being plunged into a Lancashire lockdown despite having the lowest coronavirus infection rate in the county.

Residents say they are baffled as to why the borough is being given additional measures while Blackpool – which has a higher rate of cases – is not seeing any restrictions introduced.

One social media user said: "Why is Blackpool exempt with similar numbers? We should either be excluded or full lockdown for all.

"What's the point of the kids not being able to see granny in her garden maintaining 2m but they can go to school, on the school bus and to a restaurant for pizza."

Another social media user supports the move and said: "If the advice from experts is to lock down then we have a moral duty to do our best to protect ourselves and others."

New measures which will be introduced on Tuesday which will see all of East Lancashire put into a stricter lockdown, with a 10pm curfew and a ban on socialising with anybody out of your household or social bubble.

Blackpool has reported 1,201 cases since the start of the pandemic, with an increase of 53 cases this week whilst Ribble Valley has seen an increase of 14 cases, taking their total up to 262 cases.

The rates for each of these areas are 38.0 and 23.0 cases per 100'000 respectively.

One social media user believes the lockdown could be due to the area being surrounded by others with higher numbers.

Another resident is blaming the testing system on the Valley's low numbers. He said: "There are pop up test stations in car parks all over Pendle, Blackburn and Hyndburn.

"Nothing in the Ribble Valley so no wonder the "rate" is low.

"Surely hospital admissions are the only real indicator of how an area is doing?"

The new measures will be in place across East Lancashire from Tuesday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton.

“Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them.

“I know these restrictions will make every-day life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission."

A spokesperson for Ribble Valley Borough Council said: "It is disappointing that residents and businesses face increased restrictions again when we have all worked so hard to drive local recovery, but we understand the scale of the problem and the priority is to keep Ribble Valley people safe.

"But in these challenging times, we know that Ribble Valley residents are resolute in their commitment to overcome this pandemic.

"We will, though, be asking Government to keep our situation under constant review, given the low number of cases in Ribble Valley."

Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool’s director of public health, said the decision to exclude all of Blackpool in the latest announcement was taken by government based on infection rates which are comparatively lower in the resort than other parts of the county. 

He said that while the rates in a few areas of Lancashire were lower than Blackpool’s, the government had decided to impose restrictions across public health/upper tier authority footprints for lockdown restrictions – hence the reason why the whole of the Lancashire County Council area was included and Blackpool wasn’t.