Fifteen more coronavirus cases diagnosed in Lancashire

Coronavirus cases in Lancashire
Coronavirus cases in Lancashire

Official figures show that 15 more cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Lancashire.

It brings the number of cases recorded in the area up to 59, as the Prime Minister announced tough new rules to crack down on people flouting social distancing guidance.

Public Health England figures show that 59 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am yesterday morning (March 23) in Lancashire, up from 44 the same time the day before. A week before, there were eight cases.

They were among the 496 cases recorded across the North West, a figure which rose by 106 over the 24-hour period.

Across the UK, 6,650 people had tested positive for coronavirus as of 9am on Monday, up from 5,683 at the same point on Sunday, Department of Health and Social Care figures show.

In total, 83,945 people had been tested, and, as of 1pm yesterday, 335 had died. As the Government is no longer testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms, many cases may now not be detected.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined new restrictions on people leaving their homes to help slow the spread of coronavirus as he gave an address to the nation from No10.

People will now only be allowed to leave their homes for limited purposes, such as shopping for basic necessities, and as infrequently as possible.

One form of exercise a day will be allowed – for example a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your household, while those with any medical need or anyone providing care or helping a vulnerable person will be permitted to travel.

Travelling to and from work will be permitted, but only when absolutely necessary and work cannot be done from home.

"From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home," Mr Johnson told the nation.

"Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households."

The PM also announced that police would have powers to disperse gatherings of more than two people, and could fine anyone not following the rules.

Mr Johnson said: "Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won't be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

"To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well."

All shops selling non-essential goods are to shut, including clothing and electronic stores, as are libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship.

Mr Johnson assured the public that the restrictions are to be kept under constant review, and could be relaxed in three weeks if evidence shows the Government is able.