Burnley Council has urged local residents to follow coronavirus guidelines in the light of increasing numbers of hospital admissions and rising numbers of patients being treated in intensive care.

The town has one of the highest number of positive cases (per head of population) in England and the borough's infection rate is more than six times the national average and continuing to rise with cases occurring in every ward across the borough.

Restrictions were announced last week which means people from different households in the borough should not mix in private homes or gardens, although the strong advice is not to mix socially with other households at all as far as possible, on top of the local restrictions already in place.

Council leader Mark Townsend said: "The rising rate of infection has inevitably led to increasing numbers of people going into hospital which, in turn, means more and more people are having to be treated in intensive care. This is putting an increasing burden on our NHS and its staff.

He added: "The lines on the Covid-19 graphs are heading up at an alarming rate and we can't afford to let this continue to happen.

“I know many of our residents are doing their best to follow what can sometimes be confusing and complicated advice from the Government but others are either ignoring them or simply denying that Covid-19 exists.

“We all want things to get back to normal as soon as possible but we have to accept that isn't going to happen any time soon, and the more people ignore the guidelines put there to protect all of us, the longer this situation is going to last.

"Please, just follow the guidelines, wear a mask and be socially distanced aware, follow the simple advice on washing your hands and staying safe; but most importantly of all, don't mix with others outside your household or 'bubble' where possible.

"We're all affected by this horrible situation and we'll only get through it by supporting each other."

The borough council has said that further government restrictions are inevitable but is concerned that that these could be even stricter in Burnley unless the infection rates drop.

Burnley GP and Medical Director for NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Mark Dziobon said: “It feels as if we are almost back where we started with Covid-19, a shocking sense of déjà vu frankly.

"We are seeing a marked increase in cases and demand in primary care and within the community - and there is an increase in hospital attendances and admissions. GP practices and the hospital are under considerable pressure, and across our health and care system pressure and demand is mounting. We should be considerably concerned at this increase.

"Covid19 is a very dangerous virus and it can result in death.

"The virus can also give people long term serious health problems, people need to take it seriously and so I really do ask people to follow the guidelines; be extra careful and on guard to look after yourself and your loved ones and others."