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Council leadership update on coronavirus response

Published Monday 23 March 2020 at 17:23

We are continuing to work with partners right across the borough, county as well as nationally in response to the coronavirus crisis.

One of our key priorities is keeping you, our residents, informed with the latest advice and information.

Very sadly we have heard today that a patient in their 80s has passed away at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. Our deepest sympathies go out to their family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

We have taken a very tough decision today to close both our markets in Blackburn and Darwen to the public from tonight. We understand the severity of this decision but it’s one we’ve taken to protect traders, customers and the wider public. We will be supporting market traders in line with the assistance being offered to other local businesses and also enabling online ordering and fulfilment of deliveries to continue.

Over the weekend we saw in other parts of the country people continuing to gather in groups in public places and acting in a way that appeared to be going about their normal business.

This is not a normal situation though and we have to ask all of our residents in the strongest possible terms to please follow the Government guidance around social distancing.

This is key to fighting this virus, slowing down infections and easing the pressure on our NHS.

It is of course vital to keep active at this time – and that includes going outside – but please do so in a way that keeps you at a safe distance from others.

If you don’t you will be endangering yourself, people you know and love and other people you will have never met. The situation is that stark. We have to do this together.

With Friday’s news that the Government were ordering shut all pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, leisure centres and other such hospitality places we have been keeping an eye on the situation locally.

So far we’ve had no reports of businesses ignoring that order but our public protection team will be monitoring the situation.

We will take whatever action necessary to make sure the rules are being followed.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, as well as those from partner organisations and, of course, the NHS for their support on the response to this crisis. Your professionalism and calm dedication is what Blackburn with Darwen is all about.

The latest advice on coronavirus is available on the Public Health England and NHS websites.

Visit the Council’s website for regular updates.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council

Denise Park, Chief Executive of the Council

Professor Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health

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