Leicester WILL stay in lockdown with schools & non-essential shops closed again and pubs to stay shut for 2 more weeks
LEICESTER has been ordered to remain in lockdown for another two weeks after a local spike in coronavirus numbers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said non-essential shops will close from tomorrow and pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will remain closed for the next fortnight.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Leicester would remain in lockdown[/caption]
An elderly man wearing a mask as he walks through a market in Leicester [/caption]
A woman walking past a sign warning about social distancing [/caption]
A soldier at a mobile coronavirus testing site at Evington Leisure Centre[/caption]
Mr Hancock told the House of Commons: “Given the growing outbreak in Leicester, we cannot recommend that the easing of the national lockdown, set to take place on July 4, happens in Leicester.”
He confirmed that because children “have been particularly impacted by this outbreak” schools will also need to close from Thursday – only staying open for vulnerable kids and those of key workers.
The Health Secretary said in Leicester cases have “continued to rise” and there are now 135 cases per 100,000 people, which is three-times higher than the next highest city, Bradford.
There must also only be essential travel from and to Leicester and people must stay in their homes as much as they can he told MPs.
As well as Leicester itself, the restrictions will apply to Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield.
The Health Secretary said the “difficult” decision to impose the measures – which take Leicester back to where the rest of the country was in May – will be reviewed in two weeks’ time.
“I know that this is a worrying time for people living in Leicester and I want you to know you have our full support,” he said.
“We do not take these decisions lightly but with the interests of the people of Leicester in our hearts.”
The outbreak has seen dozens of fresh cases admitted to the area’s hospitals.
There have been 658 cases in the area in the two weeks up to June 16.
As well as Leicester, towns in the north of England are reported to be causing concern for health officials, including Barnsley, Rochdale and Oldham.
Today testers swooped in to help track the city’s spread – with members of the military ramping up tests in mobile units at Spinney Hill Park and Evington Leisure Centre.
Thousands of home testing kits are also being made available.
Health chiefs hope to control the flare-up by identifying as many cases as possible and tracing their contacts, so they can be told to isolate.
The Sun Online can reveal the coronavirus outbreak is thought to have first emerged in the east of the city centre.
Ethically Sourced Products in Spinney Hills, which makes designer Fred Perry polo shirts, has had five positive cases of Covid-19 out of a 50-strong workforce.
An ex-worker of Ethically Sourced Products, who quit the company earlier this month, said: “I’m not surprised by this outbreak.”
Managing Director Richard Olley declined to comment when approached by The Sun Online.
Sainsbury’s has also had seven staff members succumbing to virus symptoms across two stores nearby.
Locals said they believed the ‘outbreak’ is centred around the North Evington and Highfields areas, in the north east of the city.
Others were reported at a sandwich factory and a Sainsbury’s supermarket — and five schools have closed.
Officials are also worried about the city’s food production sites and multi-generational households.
People queuing up to get tested in the city[/caption]
The army have stepped in to help with a mobile testing centre[/caption]
Maria Demetriou-Clamp and Robin Dignall disinfect chairs at their hair salon ‘Hair @ 1RD’[/caption]
There had been speculation throughout out yesterday that Leicester would be placed in lockdown after the city’s Labour Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby expressed his anger after being told by Whitehall officials.
He accused the government of picking on the city and claimed a situation report about the city was “superficial” and “inaccurate”.
“If the virus is out of control or is spreading with the restrictions, I can’t see how extending them for a further two weeks would make any difference to that,” he said.
From Saturday England is opening up pubs, restaurants and hairdressers as part of Boris Johnson’s plans to unlock the country but any glimmer of hope for locals in Leicester has been quashed.
Alex Hylton, 24, licensee of the Salmon Inn, Leicester, has put his plans to open on hold [/caption]
He said he had been expecting a busy summer prior to coronavirus [/caption]
Businesses affected expressed their anger about the decision to extend the lockdown.
Hairdresser Sandra May, 52, owner of DJ’s Groom Room & Sandra May’s Hair Studio, said: “I am absolutely furious and devastated.
“I’ve had so many calls from customers wanting to know what’s happening. We’re fully booked and they’ve just dropped us right in it.
“We’d taken the precautions with PPE and planned training for the staff, we were even doing our own track and tracing, we’ve sterilised everything – it’s cost a fortune.
“I’ve been following the rules but I’m opening on July 4 regardless. I’ve told all my clients.
“If they want to arrest all the hairdressers in Leicester they’ll have some prisoners with great hair.”
Alex Hylton, 24, licensee of the Salmon Pub, said: “I’m absolutely gutted about lockdown potentially being extended.
“If we have to stay shut to help the city recover, I completely respect that. But I can’t see there will be any support from the local or national government.
“This year would’ve been a great year for the pub with the Euros, Leicester in the Champions League and a massive Kasabian gig down the road. We would have sold loads of beer over the summer.”
Meanwhile a local politician has said language barriers among the city’s large Asian community have been cited as one possible factor behind the spike.
City councillor Ratilal Govind told MailOnline that he thought there had been a lack of communication with people who do not speak English as a first language in the city.
Councillor Govind, who represents the city’s Evington ward where one of the four mobile testing stations for the virus has been sited, said: ‘I have seen young people getting together, having a few drinks and conversation.
“They are just social gatherings. With these young people there is a language barrier. They are speaking their own language and I tell them to disperse in Gujarati.
“There is a lack of communication made worse by the language barriers.”
‘WHACK A MOLE’
Speaking of the surge in new cases on a visit to a construction site in west London this morning, the Prime Minister said: “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. We are making these cautious, calibrated steps, we are opening as much of hospitality as we can on July 4, opening as much of the economy as we can – some things, alas, still remain closed until they can become Covid-secure.”
The UK’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 43,575 after 25 more deaths were confirmed today.
Shops or schools could be made to close to stop the spread[/caption]
Sir Peter Soulsby, said restrictions will likely stay put for another fortnight[/caption]
He added that the local “whack-a-mole” strategy had worked in Weston-super-Mare and where there had been outbreaks around GP surgeries in London.
“That’s the same approach that we will bring to bear in Leicester as well.”
The PM’s comments come after the Government was warned this week that imposing local lockdowns could lead to “significant disorder”.
But some MPs, including Labour MP for Leicester East, Claudia Webbe, believe they may be necessary.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Webbe said this morning: “I’m very concerned, and I really do believe that where the data allows we need to ensure that we engage in processes to protect lives, and I think we need to go into therefore more localised lockdown to protect lives and ensure that we can address this virus.
“The Government hasn’t reassured us. Thus far, the messages and the communication from the Government have been unclear, and it has been difficult, and I really don’t understand what communities are meant to follow.”
Mayor says government ‘picking’ on Leicester
Sir Peter Soulsby said he will need to “be convinced” into keeping pubs and restaurants shut in Leicester – as a fresh spike in coronavirus cases blasts the area.
He was left furious this morning after Public Health England (PHE) sent him a report of the situation overnight.
According to Sir Peter, the report’s recommendations “are about extending the restrictions for a further two weeks, but what we still don’t have – whether it’s lockdown or restrictions – is why on earth you would do it and why you would do it here in Leicester.”
The fuming mayor said the report had been “cobbled together” and “readily acknowledges” that cases are higher in Leicester due to higher levels of testing in the city.
He told the BBC: “I’ve looked at this report and, frankly, it’s obviously been cobbled together very hastily.
“It’s superficial and its description of Leicester is inaccurate and certainly 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.”
The Department of Health and Social Care acknowledged the city was an area of concern as it urged residents to be vigilant against the virus.
Anyone with symptoms should get a test as soon as possible, they stressed.
Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the area could face a local lockdown yesterday.
When asked about the potential plans by Andrew Marr on the BBC, she said: “That is correct.
“We have seen flare-ups across the country already, just in the last three or four weeks in particular.
“There will be support going into Leicester.”
Earlier this month Sage documents revealed that local lockdowns could see violence and social unrest erupt.
In papers released at the end of May, the Security sub-group, which feeds into the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned that imposing local lockdowns “would not be suitable for implementation in the UK”.
Experts from Keele University warned it could “undermine the consensus that has been built on the need for restrictive measures and lead to significant issues of disorder”.
They added: “The measures as proposed would entail the use of state power in an unprecedented way that could be perceived as discriminatory.
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“A consensus has evolved in the UK over the last weeks concerning the need for restrictive measures which suggests that support for restrictive measures is contingent upon a sense of equality of sacrifice (i.e. we are all in together). The proposed scheme undermines this core proposition.”
They added: “Anger arising from communities who perceived they have been locked down unfairly would be directed at police in the majority of cases.”
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