Fear Rises As Coronavirus Spikes In Blackburn
Blackburn, in Lancashire, is facing a “rising tide” of coronavirus cases, centered on its large Asian community. On Tuesday the town’s council brought in new restrictions to try to stem the spread of the disease, in what officials described as an urgent effort to avoid a centrally imposed lockdown.
Prof Dominic Harrison, the local authority’s director of public health, said there had been 114 coronavirus cases in the last two weeks, 97 of them among south Asian people.
Ebrahim Chand, 27, who helps to run his family’s laundry business in the area, welcomed the council’s decisive action, saying the government had been too slow to act with the initial nationwide lockdown. He said:
“The numbers are going up, so as a community we need to get on top of this. It is good that the council here are taking matters into their own hand.” Also, “Our friends in the government, like Boris Johnson, only seem to have a vague idea of what they are doing, and as they discuss what to do our numbers are steadily rising.”
Blackburn is third on the list of places with the highest weekly coronavirus rates, behind Leicester and nearby Pendle.
Analysis by the local authority has shown the emergence of household clusters, where a single person infects a whole household. Harrison said younger south Asian residents may be carrying the virus without any symptoms and passing it on to large multi-generational families.
“So a number of those are causing the rising tide event, and we know that they are in mainly south Asian areas, and they are in areas with high numbers of terraced houses with high numbers of occupants in the house, so four or more, five or more people in the household,” he said.
The following guidance from Blackburn with Darwen Council has been given to curb the further spread of COVID-19.These are Local additional precautionary workplace guidance to reduce the potential for community transmission.
In our shops, in advance of the Governments mandatory introduction of face coverings on 24th July it is now the Council’s guidance that everyone visiting our shops should wear face coverings.
In workplaces and offices, where safe COVID-19 working has been established, such as at desks, face coverings do not need to be worn. As part of the extra precautionary measures however staff are being advised to wear a face covering when however briefly they are utilizing shared or enclosed communal spaces such as entrances, corridors, toilets, and kitchens. This principle is to be applied to all other enclosed working environments.
When working outdoors and where able to maintain social distancing, staff should not be expected to wear face coverings.
Retail staff should continue to follow their risk assessments as to whether face coverings are required, this guidance doesn’t override the safety measures required by retail premises’ own risk assessments for staff.
Please note that members of retail staff in the mall are being asked to wear a face covering when entering and walking around the mall as soon as possible but certainly from 24th July when it will be mandatory.
As part of the measures being taken to help prevent local lockdown restrictions being imposed on Blackburn, the Council is going to be promoting the ‘COVID-19 safe’ notices which businesses should be displaying for the public. This is to make sure that businesses are putting in place safety measures and to reassure the public that safety measures are in place.