Lockdown remains in place in Leicester

Leicester must remain in lockdown but schools will be allowed to reopen as coronavirus infection rate remains high, Matt Hancock announces

  • Schools and early years education will be able to open again as normal
  • But the city remains sealed off, with travel and home visits still banned
  • The rules on shops reopening are less clear, with ‘targeted decisions’ planned 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that Leicester must remain in lockdown except for its schools and nurseries, which will be allowed to reopen from next Friday, July 24.

The city has now been under stricter rules than the rest of England for two weeks, and it must mostly remain so for another fortnight, Mr Hancock said.

In an urgent statement to the House of Commons today the Health Secretary said the coronavirus infection rate in the city is still too high for lockdown to be lifted.

Shops may be allowed to reopen but can be closed on a case-by-case basis, in what Mr Hancock called ‘targeted decisions’ under a new law.

But people remain sealed off and must still avoid non-essential travel out of the area, stick rigorously to social distancing rules and not enter other people’s homes. 

Mr Hancock said the Covid-19 infection rate in Leicester has dropped to 119 cases per 100,000 people. 

It was 135 per 100,000 when the lockdown was introduced on June 30, which was three times higher than the next worst-hit city.

The Health Secretary said he ‘paid tribute’ to the ‘fortitude’ of people living in Leicester and said it was their co-operation that would help stamp out the virus. 

This was the area around Leicester that first went into lockdown last month when officials realised cases were dangerously high in the city. Restrictions may now apply to a smaller area – incorporating the city centre and Oadby and Wigston only

Mr Hancock said: ‘The latest data shows that the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is now 119 cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of people testing positive is now at 4.8 per cent.

‘These are positive indicators, especially in light of the huge increase in testing.’

He compared the figures to when the lockdown was imposed and the seven-day infection rate was 135 and 10 per cent of tests were positive.

He added: ‘I committed to reviewing the measures in Leicester every two weeks. 

‘This morning I chaired a gold meeting of the local action committee to discuss the latest situation and this afternoon I held a further meeting with local leaders, Public Health England, the JBC, the local resilience forum and my clinical advisers.’

Mr Hancock added: ‘Some say the local lockdown is unnecessary.

‘I wish this were true but sadly it remains vital for the health of everyone in Leicester, and the rest of the country, that these restrictions stay in place. We will review them again in a fortnight.’

Leicester must spend another two weeks in a tighter lockdown than the rest of England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced today (Pictured: People walking through the city centre) 

Source: Read Full Article