Rossendale Free Press

VALLEY HIT BY COVID CHAOS

Festivitie­s are disrupted as rate of infection soars

- ASHLIE BLAKEY freepressn­ews@menmedia.co.uk @RossFreePr­ess

DISRUPTION caused by coronaviru­s cast a shadow of gloom over the Valley during the Christmas and New Year festivitie­s.

Figures have revealed that daily cases of Covid-19 have spiked sharply, with 199 in Rossendale and 3,415 across Lancashire as a whole in the latest 24-hour period.

The public were being urged to take a lateral flow test before attending New Year celebratio­ns, but with people turning up to pharmacies for them ‘every five minutes’, supplies have been ‘patchy and inconsiste­nt’, meaning many have missed out.

Elsewhere the effects of Covid have seen a care home forced to close to visitors, hospitalit­y venues hit by cancellati­ons, and even the delivery of Christmas presents being delayed due to staff shortages.

DAILY cases of Covid-19 have spiked sharply, with 199 in Rossendale and 3,415 across Lancashire as a whole in the latest 24-hour period.

Across the UK, there were 129,471 new cases, and 18 daily deaths were recorded within 28 days of a positive test - taking the total to 148,021.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has assured the public that the Government will not impose any restrictio­ns before the

New Year, meaning planned parties in the next few days can continue as normal.

Mr Javid urged people to “remain cautious” while enjoying their celebratio­ns though, and to take a lateral flow test before leaving the house for an event.

However, with people turning up to pharmacies for lateral flow tests ‘every five minutes’ over the Christmas period - they have often been unable to get one.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Associatio­n of Independen­t Multiple Pharmacies, said it has been a ‘huge problem’ in recent weeks.

She said patients are often unable to find the Covid tests in pharmacies because of ‘patchy and inconsiste­nt’ supplies.

This comes after lateral flow tests became unavailabl­e for home delivery again yesterday, with people urged to go to pharmacies instead.

Work and Pensions minister Chloe Smith said people should ‘persevere’ in their efforts to secure Covid tests.

She told BBC Breakfast: “Of course, what we’re seeing is increased demand for testing, which is good and sensible because that’s part of people having been cautious, I think, and being sensible around Christmas and around New Year.

“So, we’re seeing spikes of demand. What we’ve done in response to that then is double the delivery capacity - so we’ve taken action to make sure that people can get testing kits delivered to them at home.

“An additional method to that, of course, is going to a pharmacy.

“What I would say is to please persevere with either making use of your friendly local pharmacy or using the delivery method on the Gov.uk website.

“Even whilst there have been periods of great demand on that, and every so often we’ve had to replenish the means behind the scenes there, that is happening and the delivery is occurring.”

The UKHSA has said tests may be temporaril­y unavailabl­e on the government website at points throughout the day due to “exceptiona­lly high demand” and urged people not to order more tests before using the ones they have.

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 ?? ?? ●Health minister Sajid Javid (inset) has urged people to take lateral flow tests before leaving home for a New Year event
●Health minister Sajid Javid (inset) has urged people to take lateral flow tests before leaving home for a New Year event

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