EAST Lancashire residents have been advised to keep wearing face masks and social distancing despite this week's lifting of most legal coronavirus restrictions by the government.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan and bosses of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, which co-ordinates the Covid-19 response across the county, have reminded people of the need to be careful.

They are concerned that local coronavirus infection rates remain high.

Cllr Khan said: "We all need to learn to live with the virus, but we must use our common sense.

"Rates in Blackburn with Darwen and across Lancashire continue to be higher than the England average.

"Whilst face masks and social distancing are no longer required, I would like to ask residents to continue to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces, including on public transport."

Denise Park, chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum and Blackburn with Darwen Council's chief executive, said: ""We know that coronavirus is something we will all have to live with, and with legal restrictions lifting, it is now up to every one of us to use our personal judgement.

"We should still consider exercising caution in certain situations to mitigate the high number of cases we currently have in Lancashire and limit the spread of the virus.

""For example, wearing a mask when using public transport or when in a crowded indoor space is still the right thing to do even if there if you are not legally required to do so.

"There are no longer any limits on social contact but you may feel more comfortable meeting."

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council's director of public health, said: "Cases of Covid-19 are still high in Lancashire, and it is likely that infections with continue to rise with the further easing of restrictions.

"It is important that people use their personal judgement and take sensible steps to protect themselves and others."