Local lockdown could yet again be used to control outbreaks of Covid across Lancashire and the North West.

Local lockdowns: Preston, Burnley, Blackburn and Wigan among the council areas in Lancashire and the North West most likely to be hit by tier system as the Indian variant threatens Covid roadmap

As concerns continue to grow around the Indian Variant of Covid, Government ministers have hinted that local lockdowns could be necessary in controlling the spread of the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Environment Secretary George Eustice have both said in recent days that a return to a tiered system of restrictions remains an option when the national lockdown is lifted in June.

This comes as areas across the North West including, Blackburn and Darwen, Burnley, Bolton and Manchester have all seen a sustained surge in new cases of Covid, including the Indian variant.

Last year Government ministers made decisions around local restrictions using the following criteria:

- the rate of Covid cases per 100,000 people

- the rate of increase

- the prevalence among people aged 60 and over

- the positivity rate – which is the proportion of tests that come back positive (National average 0.7 as of May 20).

- pressure on the NHS

Based on last year's local lockdown criteria (with the exception of 'pressure on the NHS'), our data experts have identified the top 20 council areas currently at risk areas across the country, nine of which are in the North West.

Below are the council areas across Lancashire and the North West currently most at risk of local lockdown:

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