Covid-19 restrictions ‘not fair or fitting’ for Pendle, says council leader

Council chiefs in one Lancashire borough are asking the Government to relax Covid-19 restrictions after they “kept a lid” on rising numbers of cases.

Last month Pendle rocketed to the top of the seven-day infection rate table in England but has since tumbled down the rankings and on latest figures gathered from Public Health England was 19th highest on Thursday.

A ban on different households mixing in the borough has been in place for weeks, while locals in Brierfield and parts of Nelson have been advised not to socialise with anyone outside their household and only use public transport if essential.

On Friday, the same public transport guidance was extended for the whole of the borough along with the added restriction of hospitality venues closing between 10pm and 5am.

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But Pendle Council says its widespread testing of people with or without coronavirus symptoms has limited the spread of the virus and that the Government’s approach is “not fair or fitting”.

Labour council leader Mohammed Iqbal said: “We’ve been asking for a relaxation of rules in Pendle which we believe is entirely reasonable because we’ve kept a lid on rising Covid-19 cases locally, thanks to following our plan of getting people with and without symptoms tested.

“Around 25,000 people in Pendle have been tested and the vast majority of people have been following the safe distancing, face coverings and hand-washing rules.

“Pendle has been doing really well in the battle to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“That’s why we’re disappointed to find that local people are continuing to have to follow tighter measures here because more people are testing positive in other areas of the country.

“Despite what the Government says, we haven’t asked for these restrictions and they are not a fair or fitting approach for Pendle.

“Our request to the Government remains unchanged.

“We are still aiming for an easing of restrictions in Pendle in line with those in place in the rest of England.”

The council has asked the Government to prioritise Pendle with national and regional testing resources to carry out 500 tests per day.

It also wants a new more localised case and contact tracing system where council staff follow through calls from start to finish.