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Photo Credit: Peter Byrne/ PA
Photo Credit: Peter Byrne/ PA
Photo Credit: Peter Byrne/ PA
Photo Credit: Peter Byrne/ PA
UK News

'We're praying for God to have mercy': Blackburn facing rising tide of Coronavirus cases

by Tola Mbakwe

A church in Blackburn has said it's praying fervently that the increase in Covid-19 cases will be reversed soon. 

The area's public health director warned that Blackburn is facing a "rising tide" of coronavirus cases, centred on its large Asian community, with two weeks to get the numbers down before lockdown measures are reversed.

The Lancashire town brought in extra restrictions on Tuesday. Residents must reduce household visiting to one household plus two members from another household and wear face masks in all public spaces. There will be inspections on small corner shops, and testing with mobile testing units and targeted testing units. Also, people are not to hug or shake hands on greeting. 

Pastor Stephen Nocross from Community Church Blackburn told Premier his church is praying about the issue.

"We're just praying for God to have mercy on Blackburn with Darwen at this time. Prayer works. We believe that God is listening to us.

"One of the themes coming out in our church services and prayer meetings is worry. It's not wrong to worry, but it's about what you do with the worry, and we've been encouraging people to give their worries to Jesus."

Professor Dominic Harrison, the local authority's director of public health, said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We have what we call a rising tide event rather than an outbreak, and by that we mean that we've got a number of cases rising in specific areas across a significant community, but not a single big outbreak like Kirklees or other areas that had a workplace outbreak.

"It can have the same effect because it can drive up the cases, but what we are seeing from looking at the postcode data of those cases is, in the last couple of weeks, is that what we are seeing is a single case being infected, then going back to a household and all that household becoming infected."

He said the Blackburn with Darwen Borough, which has an Asian population of about 28 per cent, had 114 cases in the last two weeks and 97 of those cases are south Asian.

The rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 has gone up to 47 per 100,000, up from 31.6 cases in the seven days to 4th July.

The authority is third on the list of highest weekly rates, behind Leicester, which has a rate of 118.2 cases per 100,000 and is subject to a local lockdown, and nearby Pendle, with a rate of 76.6.

Pastor Norcoss said he's confident that local public health officials will have good control over the situation. 

"We do have fantastic local government," he said. 

"We've got a great guy who leads the health service. We've got a really good Christian presence as well in the health service. We have Cornerstone Christian GP Practice that provides a lot of the healthcare in Blackburn with Darwen. So we've been praying for local authorities and local governments at this time too."

Listen to Premier's interview with Pastor Stephen Nocross here: 

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