Indian variant guidance for businesses in Blackburn

You’ll have no doubt heard of the spread of the Indian variant, and Blackburn with Darwen has the second highest number of cases in the country. 

There are a number of measures in place to deal with this and Professor Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health, has said this morning that the next 2 weeks are the most crucial of the pandemic for Blackburn with Darwen.  Helpfully Matt Hancock yesterday confirmed that the government is replacing lockdowns with vaccines, and so that is the focus for dealing with the variant.

Measures include:

  • An extra 1000 doses of Pfizer vaccine are available everyday for the next 2 weeks
  • Everyone over the age of 38 is eligible for the vaccine
  • In Blackburn with Darwen, everyone over the age of 18 with an underlying condition, and anyone who lives with, works with or cares for (paid or unpaid) anyone with an underlying condition is eligible for a vaccine.
  • Everyone who is eligible is urged to book in for the vaccine as soon as possible.
  • From tomorrow surge testing is also being deployed in ward areas where the variant has been detected.
  • Anyone with symptoms should get a test, and everyone is urged to get rapid tests, twice a week without symptoms.
  • More information is available here:

I’ve been getting tested twice a week at King George’s Hall which is where I’ve also picked up some home testing kits.  It’s really quick and easy to do.  Please do what you can to help stop the spread of the virus and particularly this Indian variant.

The guidance around ‘What you can and cannot do’ has been updated to include guidance around the new variant:

  • The areas in which the new COVID-19 variant is spreading fastest are:
    • Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
    • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • Given the increased risk of transmitting COVID-19, you should take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble. This will keep yourself and others safe. In particular, wherever possible, you should try to:
    • Meet outside rather than inside where possible
    • Try to keep 2 metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with
    • Get tested twice a week for free and isolate if you are positive
    • Continue to work from home if you can
    • Get vaccinated when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well
  • You should get tested for COVID-19, this includes:
    • Arrange to have a PCR test if you have symptoms of COVID-19
    • Participating in surge testing in your local area
    • Get regular rapid tests if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • You should self-isolate immediately if you have symptoms or a positive test result for COVID-19. There is financial support if you’re off work because of coronavirus.

In addition, you should try to avoid travelling in and out of your local area unless it is essential, for example for work or education.

Additional updates for you:

  • Latest R range and growth rate for England:
    • The Latest R range for England is 0.8 to 1.1 An R value between 0.8 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 11 other people.
    • The Latest growth rate range for England is -3% to +1% per day.  A growth rate of between -3% and 1% means that the number of new infections could be broadly flat, shrinking by up to 3% every day, or growing by up to 1% every day.
    • The latest R rate for the North West is 0.8 to 1.1 and the growth rate range is -3 to 2
  • Updated ‘Working Safely Guidance’

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