Blackburn has overtaken Leicester with the highest coronavirus infection rate in England, new figures have shown. Prof Dominic Harrison said he would be “reluctant” to impose a local lockdown.
However, Harrison, public health director of Blackburn with Darwen Council, warned that cases would continue to rise.
He said: “We should be concerned the figures have gone up, but I entirely expected them to and I expect them to rise again this week.”
The borough of Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire has a rate of 79.2 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to July 17, according to the latest data from Public Health England (PHE).
Leicester has a rate of 77.7 per 100,000 people over the same period.
Health officials in Blackburn introduced new measures last week to enforce social distancing after warning of a “rising tide” of infections, centred mainly on the town’s large Asian community.
Leicester is itself currently in lockdown.
The PHE figures show in Blackburn there were 118 cases in the seven days to July 17, with a rate of 79.2 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 63 cases in the previous seven days up to July 10, with a previous infection rate of 42.3 cases per 100,000 people.
Leicester had 276 new cases in the seven days to July 17, giving 77.7 cases per 100,000 people, down on the previous week up to July 10, which had 429 cases and a previous infection rate 120.8 cases per 100,000 people.