Blackburn overtakes Bolton as UK’s Covid epicentre

Blackburn overtakes Bolton as UK’s Covid epicentre
Blackburn with Darwen recorded 584 Covid-19 cases in week leading up to 26 May

Blackburn with Darwen has overtaken Bolton as the UK area with the highest rate of new coronavirus cases in the UK.

In the seven days leading up to 26 May, 584 Covid-19 cases were recorded in the area, according to data published by Public Health England.

The number amounts to around 390.1 cases per 100,000 people, while in neighbouring Bolton, the seven-day rate is at 386.7 cases per 100,000.

In Bolton, the new number represents a decline from the seven days leading up to 21 May, suggesting that the recent rise in cases in the area could have already seen its peak.

It is still too early to say, however, whether the numbers could rise again, with the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant fuelling the recent surge in cases.

Both Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen have seen some of the highest numbers of cases of the Indian variant.

The recent rise in cases has seen surge testing for Covid-19 conducted in both areas, along with a ramped up vaccination programme.

In a joint statement published on Wednesday, Denise Park, the Chief Executive of the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, local public health director Dominic Harrison and council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan, had warned that the area had been experiencing “more cases than many other areas – mainly related to the variant of concern first identified in India”.

“And so it remains vitally important we all continue to exercise caution and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves,” they said.

The officials encouraged “all over 18s” to check their current vaccine eligibility and “come forward as soon as possible” to receive the jab.

“It’s also vital everyone comes forward for their second dose at the correct time with latest PHE stats showing high degrees of protection against variants after the full course,” they said.

Across the UK, 230 of the 380 local areas in the UK saw a week-on-week rise in Covid-19 case rates in the week leading up to May 26, according to an analysis by the Press Association, while 130 saw a decline in cases and 20 were unchanged.

Additional reporting by PA