Residents of East Lancashire have been urged to use ‘more caution’ when mixing with people outside their homes to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
Blackburn and Darwen Council chief executive Denise Park issued the warning after the government announced a stepped-up support program to the county to fight an increase in the Delta variant of Covid-19 first identified in India.
Ms Park, who chairs the Lancashire Resilience Forum, said residents should be careful to avoid further restrictions.
The support program includes additional testing capacity, accelerated vaccination program, military support, home visits, supervised school testing, improved contact tracing and jabs for all over 25 years.
He extends the measures already in place at Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley to the rest of Lancashire including Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Pendle and Rossendale.
Ms Park pointed to Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s advice for residents to meet people outdoors rather than indoors and to “minimize travel.”
She said at an LRF press conference: “In terms of hospitality, the advice is to meet outdoors when possible. It is safer to meet outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
“So if you can, meet outside – if you can’t, make sure you wear masks when you move around, disinfect yourself, and follow the basic tips. -the ‘it’s all about doing it safely – and the safest way is outside.
“It’s the same with travel – it’s not about not traveling, it’s about considering your travel arrangements. If you are traveling by car with other people, is it well ventilated? If you are on public transport, do you wear a mask?
“It’s not a travel ban. This is additional support and additional guidance for taking extra precautions. We did not want measures that would result in additional restrictions.
“We understand that we have to learn to live with this virus and manage the variants and so these are measures that support our residents – and the key is to ensure maximum uptake of the vaccine.”
The message on the vaccine was reinforced by the Lancashire County Council Public Health Director who said: “There has never been a situation where we have never run out of vaccines, so our main pressure is now to ask anyone over 18 in Lancashire check website and go – we’ll help you find out if you’re eligible or not.
“We will continue to advocate for Lancashire … to be given a head start in the next step, when vaccine eligibility falls in the youngest age group.”