20 Jul England’s top 10 COVID hotspots as Blackburn overtakes Leicester | UK News
A funeral attended by around 250 people in Blackburn has led to renewed warnings that the town is heading for a local lockdown.
The borough of Blackburn with Darwen, in Lancashire, has now overtaken Leicester with the highest coronavirus infection rate in England.
Figures from Public Health England (PHE) show Blackburn with Darwen has a rate of 78.6 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to 17 July.
Leicester, where local lockdown measures are in place, has a rate of 72.6 per 100,000 people over the same period.
These are the places in the UK with the highest number of cases per 100,000 people, according to data from NHS Digital which covers 12 July to 18 July:
- Blackburn with Darwen – 78.6 cases
- Leicester – 72.6 cases
- Rochdale – 46.8 cases
- Bradford – 40.4 cases
- Luton – 29 cases
- Kirklees – 28.5 cases
- Herefordshire – 23.9 cases
- Rotherham – 22.7 cases
- Sandwell – 22 cases
- Calderdale – 20.9 cases
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council confirmed they are working with the Jamia Ghosia mosque to establish the full facts around a funeral that was attended by 250 people last week.
The legal limit on gatherings for weddings or funerals in England is 30.
The imam who led the service is understood to be among the people who have since tested positive for COVID-19.
Mohammed Khan, the council’s leader, highlighted in a statement that three other imams and many other members of the community have already died from COVID-19.
He said: “Their sad and untimely deaths should not be in vain.
“Their passing should serve as a warning about the very real dangers and the severity of COVID-19 but also as a very clear reasoning for limiting funeral and wedding guest numbers as per the government guidance to a maximum of 30 people.
“We are in danger of a local lockdown if there continues to be an increase in cases. Nobody wants this.
“Please, I urge you to follow the guidelines to protect your families, friends and your community.”
Dominic Harrison, the council’s director of public health, is working with PHE to decide what further steps may be required to combat the surge in cases, which is partly due to increased testing.
He has said the data shows a clear pattern of cases spreading among south Asian multigenerational households.
Cafe owner Roshan Saleh told Sky News that singling out her community was too simplistic.
“Not everybody lives like that – I live with just my husband and my son,” she said.
“People go to restaurants they are together, people go into the pubs they are together, I don’t know how they are saying (just) the Asian people.
“Everybody should be careful and everybody is equally responsible themselves.”
The council also acknowledged they need more people to work with their contact-tracing system once a positive case has been identified.