30 June 2020
With the city having recorded 10% of all positive coronavirus cases in the country over the past week, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that the UK's first full local lockdown will be applied in Leicester.
He highlighted that the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is 135 cases per 100,000 people, which is three times higher than the next highest city, and admissions to hospital are between six and 10 per day rather than around one a day at other trusts.
Targeted action at factories, workplaces and schools over the past 10 days has not worked, so, following meetings with local leaders, Public Health England (PHE), the Local Resilience Forum and the new Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), Mr Hancock said that further measures have been agreed to tackle the outbreak in Leicester.
Anyone in Leicester with symptoms must come forward for a test, he went on.
Extra funding will be provided to Leicester and Leicestershire councils so that they can ensure that their notices, warnings and communications are translated into all locally relevant languages.
The Health Secretary also promised to work with the workplaces that have seen clusters of cases to implement more stringently the Covid-secure workplaces guidance.
As part of the new restrictions, non-essential retail outlets will have to close from 30 June while schools will need to close from 1 July, although they will continue to take in vulnerable children and children of critical workers as they have done throughout the crisis.
“Unfortunately,” Mr Hancock said, “the clinical advice is that the relaxation of shielding measures due on 6 July cannot now take place in Leicester. We recommend to people in Leicester, stay at home as much as you can and we recommend against all but essential travel to, from and within the city.”
These specific measures will apply not just to the city of Leicester, but also to the surrounding conurbation including, for example, Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield. They will be reviewed in two weeks and will not, the Health Secretary concluded, remain in place any longer than is necessary.