A CONCERNING rise in Covid-19 infection rates in Haydock, Newton and Earlestown led to an athletics meeting being postponed yesterday.

While other running events, such as the Cheshire Half Marathon, took place in the region over the weekend, St Helens Council requested the Northern Athletics Autumn Road Relays being staged by Wirral AC at Haydock Park Racecourse be called off.

The meeting, also known as the inter-club road relays, attracts a large entry from runners across the north west and was always subject to coronavirus regulations and guidance despite the best efforts from all involved.

> Latest St Helens coronavirus figures

A letter, dated September 16, from Susan Forster, the council's director of public health and published by Wirral AC, highlights the reasoning behind the decision taken.

"Over recent weeks there has been a dramatic rise in the coronavirus infection rates within St Helens," said the letter.

"As a result, there is a high probability that special measures may need to be introduced within the borough in a bid to curb the increase in infection within the local community.

"Of particular concern are the current infection rates in the Newton, Earlestown and Haydock wards, which include Haydock Park Racecourse.

"The St Helens Council Outbreak Management Board and Public Health England have been consulted over the athletics meeting.

"In light of the current localised infection rates the Outbreak Management Board have requested that the event does not go ahead at this current time."

The letter:

St Helens Star: