No easing of current COVID restrictions for parts of Pendle

The Government has announced that there will be no easing of the current COVID-19 restrictions for parts of Pendle.

Stricter measures were introduced in Brierfield and Nelson in Pendle when they were found to have some of the highest spikes in the country several weeks ago.

However, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said he was disappointed that Pendle hasd not been brought in line with other areas of East Lancashire, despite seeing a drop in cases.

He said: "Following two spikes which brought tighter Government regulations to our area, infection rates have been coming down in Pendle.

Restrictions remain in place

“We recognise the big impact that the extra restrictions have had on thousands of our residents who have had long periods of isolation from family and friends.

“Working with our MP, Andrew Stephenson, we felt it was time to bring the restrictions for Nelson and Brierfield in line with other areas in the North of England.

“But we are very disappointed that the Government does not want to remove the additional restrictions for Brierfield and Nelson yet.

“We know it’s a very tough time for many people in Pendle and I’m hopeful that restrictions will ease soon. We will continue to monitor the situation in Pendle on a daily basis and to keep lobbying the Government to get the right support for our area."

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The current restrictions mean that people in Brierfield and Nelson are still not allowed to enjoy any social activities indoors or outdoors with anyone they don’t live with.

Coun. Iqbal added: “We also asked for an easing of restrictions in other areas of Pendle in line with those in place in England, but the Government wants to keep things as they are, at present."

Information on the regulations for Brierfield and Nelson and for Pendle are on Pendle Council’s website www.pendle.gov.uk/coronavirus including how to get tested in Pendle and stay safe advice.

The council's deputy leader, Coun. David Whipp, added: “It's another disappointing decision for the people of Pendle.

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“Residents have shown great fortitude in recent months and their continued care with handwashing hygiene and keeping apart from others has helped reduce the spread of the virus across the borough.

“With the number of positive cases coming down in Pendle as a whole, it's a blow for everyone that there aren't any relaxations in the restrictions this week.

“The county's Director of Public Health agreed with the joint view of leadership of Pendle Council and the Member of Parliament, that the rules should be eased. It's very unfortunate that the national agencies haven't accepted this approach because of the worsening national situation."

Pendle Council and Pendle’s MP have made additional recommendations to the Government to:

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Prioritise Pendle with national and regional testing resources to carry out 500 tests per day

Put in place a new more localised case and contact tracing system where Pendle Council staff follow through calls from start to finish

Include Pendle in a national DEFRA study into testing sewage to detect COVID-19

Provide additional support for a new communications campaign for Pendle in collaboration with the Lancashire Resilience Forum.

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Andrew Stephenson, Pendle’s MP, said: “We must continue to do all we can to beat the virus. We will make every effort to support Pendle.

“A big thank you to everyone who has been following the rules. It makes a huge difference."

Coun. Nadeem Ahmed, leader of the Conservative Group on Pendle Council, said: “We thank everyone who has taken an active part in our Let’s Do It for Pendle campaign, including getting tested and following tighter restrictions to protect themselves, their families and our community.

“We know it’s been tough but we’re urging people to continue to follow Government rules and guidance, from regular hand washing to safe distancing and wearing face coverings in places like shops and supermarkets. Coronavirus is still with us."

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Pendle is piloting a new payment scheme for residents who test positive or have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive and who need to self-isolate.

People eligible for a self-isolation payment are those on low incomes who will lose earnings because they can’t work from home.

Applicants must receive certain benefits, such as Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits, to be eligible for a payment of up to £130 for the 10-day self-isolation period.

Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, are entitled to a payment of £182.

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Applicants can apply on Pendle Council’s website - www.pendle.gov.uk/selfisolationscheme

Anyone who is self-isolating and needs support can access a range of help including getting food shopping and prescriptions.

Contact the Pendle Community Support Hub via pendle.gov.uk/communitysupporthub or ring (01282) 661743.