PRESTON could be plunged into a new lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus cases and fury over a nightclub reopening.
The city is now on the brink – with tough measures potentially slapping the city within days.
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The fast-track lockdown rules would see Preston follow in East Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire.
Covid-19 infections more than doubled in the city in the week of July 31, from 22 to 49 – nearly 35 cases per 100,000 residents.
And the disturbing figure is the second biggest increase behind Blackburn with Darwen, which recorded 119 new cases.
Alarmingly, 18 narcotic cases were recorded in a single day.
Lancashire’s Director of Public Health Dr Sakthi Karunanithi has now warned that new lockdown rules could be imposed in an attempt to slow the spread.
And he fears that action will be taken in the “next few days” after a government review meeting tomorrow.
He told BBC Radio Lancashire: ‘This is my personal and professional opinion given the statistics, the direction of the trip and the scale of the problem. “
It comes amid fury after a nightclub became the first to reopen in Britain during the crisis – despite the city teetering on the brink of lockdown.
Switch has opened its doors to let hundreds of party-goers let loose for £ 200 a head.
Footage showed boozers standing side by side on the bustling dance floor.
Lancashire Police Deputy Chief Terry Woods was among those who criticized the decision.
He said that “opening a hall for 500 young people with a drink is just not helpful at all.”
And he called the move irresponsible because Preston was “on the verge of restrictions this week.”
Residents also lambasted the reopening, which came after Preston City Council made a last-minute U-turn on Saturday.
And this despite the government’s decision that nightclubs must remain closed despite the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.
In a statement, Switch owners said they had always planned to reopen the club but as a bar – rather than a nightclub.
They explained, “Our intention is, and always has been, to reopen and reuse Switch to provide a safe and enjoyable experience… even if it’s like a bar.”
Preston is close to Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire which have already been hit with lockdown rules.
A major incident was even declared in Greater Manchester after the coronavirus infection rates soared.
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Mayor Andy Burnham called for a return to armor plating, while high-level figures held an emergency ‘gold order’ meeting to speed up the region’s response to the outbreak.
Infection rates for the week through last Thursday – when the new measures were introduced – show cases per 100,000 people still rising in every part of the Lockdowne area.
Those in Manchester and Tameside more than doubled in seven days, while those in Oldham remain the highest and most dynamic.