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City ‘faces lockdown extension’ amid Covid surge

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock first talked about an “outbreak” in Leicester on 18 June

Pubs and eating places in Leicester might keep closed for 2 extra weeks on account of a surge in coronavirus circumstances, town’s mayor has mentioned.

Sir Peter Soulsby mentioned the federal government had beneficial present restrictions are maintained for an extra fortnight.

He informed the Today programme town may “remain restricted for two weeks longer than the rest of the country”.

The prime minister mentioned Public Health England and native authorities had the ability to herald an area lockdown.

There have been 2,987 constructive circumstances in Leicester for the reason that pandemic started, with 866 of these – 29% – reported within the two weeks to 23 June.

Coronavirus restrictions throughout England are on account of be eased from 4 July, with pubs, eating places, hairdressers and motels allowed to reopen.

  • Leicester reacts to lockdown extension plans
  • City companies left ‘in limbo’ by lockdown extension plan

But Sir Peter mentioned he had obtained an e mail from the federal government in a single day and “it seems they’re suggesting we continue the present level of restriction for a further two weeks beyond 4 July”.

He criticised the evaluation as “superficial” and mentioned “it does not provide us with the information we need if we are to remain restricted for two weeks longer than the rest of the country”.

Sir Peter mentioned he didn’t know whether or not the federal government had the ability to impose an extension if council officers concluded it was not crucial.

“It is very unclear, but I would guess – and it is only a guess – that the government is able to take powers under the Covid legislation to impose a particular restriction in a particular place – in this case Leicester,” he mentioned.

“I feel it is very unclear as to what distinction it might make in the event that they proceed the laws in Leicester and why you’ll do it.

“Frankly, if the virus is out of control and spreading in Leicester with the restrictions, I can’t understand how extending them for a further two weeks would make any difference to that.”

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Media captionBoris Johnson: “We are concerned about Leicester”

Home Secretary Priti Patel beforehand mentioned town confronted a attainable native lockdown.

Local leaders are on account of focus on the scenario with Health Secretary Matt Hancock later earlier than he addresses MPs within the House of Commons.

The prime minister’s official spokesman mentioned Public Health England and native authorities had the ability to herald an area lockdown by briefly closing public areas, companies and venues if required.

He mentioned native well being authorities may additionally halt admissions to hospitals.

Boris Johnson mentioned an area “whack-a-mole” technique used to cope with outbreaks in Weston-super-Mare and round GP surgical procedures in London can be “brought to bear in Leicester as well”.

“We are concerned about Leicester, we are concerned about any local outbreak. I want to stress to people that we are not out of the woods yet,” he added.

We ought to get used to those native flare-ups – they’re going to develop into a lifestyle over the approaching months.

The virus, whereas at low ranges, continues to be right here.

There are round 1,000 constructive checks daily throughout the UK on common – after which there are the unknown variety of silent spreaders, those that don’t present signs and therefore don’t get examined.

What’s necessary is that these clusters are introduced beneath management shortly and do not unfold.

The reality an area outbreak has been recognized in a single a part of Leicester suggests the system is working to some extent – though it is truthful to ask whether or not it may have been noticed extra shortly given circumstances have been rising for various weeks.

With further testing services parachuted in officers shall be desperately making an attempt to get a transparent thought of simply how far it has unfold so delaying the additional easing of restrictions is the logical step.

If extra circumstances maintain rising an area lockdown shall be on the playing cards.

Should it’s like this? Some argue we should always have suppressed the virus additional earlier than easing – basically going for elimination like New Zealand.

But for a rustic just like the UK the place the virus had unfold additional earlier than lockdown and with its dimension of inhabitants and packed cities that’s considerably more durable.

Ivan Browne, Leicester’s director of public well being, mentioned detailed information on native circumstances steered they have been “very much around the younger working-age population and predominately towards the east part of our city”.

“I don’t think at the moment we’re seeing a single cause or single smoking gun on this, it’s likely to be a combination of factors,” he added.

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe has known as for a lockdown on account of a “perfect storm” of poverty, constructive checks and better ethnic range.

About 28% of Leicester’s inhabitants is of Indian heritage, and an extra 21% are from black or Asian backgrounds.

Dr Manish Pareek, a advisor at Leicester Royal Infirmary, mentioned many current circumstances have been from “inner-city areas which have high levels of ethnic diversity, pockets of deprivation but also quite crowded housing with inter-generational and multi-occupancy households”.

These components “are almost like a perfect storm for a virus to be spread within,” he added.

What the information does and does not inform us

By Daniel Wainwright, BBC England Data Unit

The determine for confirmed circumstances in Leicester is greater than double that revealed by the federal government.

This is as a result of the federal government’s revealed information for native circumstances solely cowl checks carried out in hospitals and for well being employees – generally known as Pillar 1.

Tests exterior of hospitals, generally known as Pillar 2, aren’t damaged down by native authority however Public Health England has began publishing a weekly round-up by area.

In the week of 18 to 24 June the East Midlands went from 18,516 confirmed circumstances to 19,861, equal to 28 new confirmed circumstances for each 100,000 individuals.

In its weekly report Public Health England mentioned case detections have been highest within the north of England and there had been will increase exterior of hospital testing in Yorkshire and the Humber over the earlier two weeks.

“At a local authority level, activity was highest in parts of West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and in Leicester,” it added.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson mentioned: “We are working alongside Public Health England to assist the council and native companions in Leicester to assist forestall additional transmission of the virus.

“Based on the latest data, there are now four mobile testing units deployed and thousands of home testing kits available, to ensure anyone in the area who needs a test can get one.”

Business homeowners within the metropolis who had been getting ready to reopen on 4 July mentioned they have been dismayed on the prospect of getting to attend an extra two weeks to reopen.

Restaurant proprietor Sohail Ali mentioned the uncertainty had made him “very nervous”.

“Everyone has got bills to pay, mouths to feed, so we need to make sure that we can get our businesses back open,” he mentioned.

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