25 September 2020 18:43
Leeds will officially be put back into a local lockdown as strict new measures have been revealed with the council announcing that no households will be able to mix from tonight. Leeds City Council announced the update during a council meeting today (Friday) with the authority adding that the measures could be in place "right through winter." The city has been moved into the government's 'intervention area' category after coronavirus infection rates continued to remain among some of the highest in the country, and on a continuously steep rise. Prior to this, local lockdown-style restrictions were brought in across the North East of England, despite having less significant rates than the likes of Leeds and Bradford. But with Leeds' rates now as high as Bradford's were when they were put into lockdown, Leeds will now follow the same fate. Labour Councillor Judith Blake for Middleton Park ward in Leeds, said that the council expects restrictions to come in from midnight tonight.
Cllr Blake said: "What we know is this would be across the whole of Leeds and the rule of thumb is that if people have their bin emptied by Leeds City Council they will be included in the restrictions." Whilst there had been confusion surrounding the first local lockdown for West Yorkshire back in July, when it wasn't initially clear which parts of the affected regions were affected, Leeds City Council have made it as clear as possible for Leeds residents. In the meeting with the council this morning, a journalist had asked how many people this rule would affect and the Council's Chief Executive, Tom Riordan, said that it'll be around 780,000 in Leeds affected and that the "general rule of thumb" they have been using is that "if your bins are collected by Leeds City Council you will be affected". Therefore, to avoid confusion, areas such as Wetherby, Otley, Kippax, Guiseley and Pudsey will also all be included in the Leeds' lockdown restrictions. Chief Executive Tom Riordan stated that there will be some exemptions around work and education, social bubbles and childcare to be expected. He added there is work to be done in homes but "principally the message is no household mixing in Leeds from midnight tonight" is what we expect to be announced later today.
Also at the meeting Victoria Eaton spoke on the infection rates being so high, whilst adding that the spread of the virus in the city was 'very dynamic'. She said: "The headlines for Leeds as we've commented through the last few weeks is that cases are high, they are continuing to rise as is the case across the rest of the country. Leeds is likely to face new restrictions from midnight in the fight against Covid-19, including a ban on households mixing, its city council leader has said. Judith Blake said she expected Leeds will be made an "area of intervention", meaning "more household restrictions along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts in Bradford, Kirkless and Calderdale". Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: "What we are trying to do is give a simple message – you shouldn't really mix with other households." He said about 780,000 people will come under the new measures which could be in place through the winter. The new tougher set of restrictions in the city come after a surge in positive coronavirus cases across the city. The latest seven day COVID-19 rate in Leeds is 98.5 per 100,000 people, with 8.4 per cent of those tested being positive and cases showing a consistent upward trend for a number of weeks. Leeds is to be placed under a local lockdown from midnight tonight, Friday with the new restrictions likely to impact on anyone planning to visit the city for shopping or to go out to enjoy its food and drink scene. Announcing the new lockdown for the city which could well be in place through Christmas, Leeds City Council Leader Judith Blake said: "We are in a time of fast moving changes which affect us all. "Our understanding is that we will be moved onto the 'Area of Intervention' list, which means we will see more household restrictions in line with Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale." In a media briefing held this morning, Leeds Council announced they expect Leeds to go into lockdown as of midnight. The new lockdown in Leeds come despite months of extensive work by agencies and partner groups across the city which has seen increased testing, community engagement and public awareness campaigns. Coun Judith Blake said: "We expect that these restrictions will come in from midnight tonight." All the areas which pay council tax to Leeds City Council will be under lockdown restrictions. What lockdown means in Leeds: New restrictions in full How long is Leeds expected to remain under restrictions? National restictions such as the curfew and rule of six are expected to remain in place throughout winter. Local lockdown is likely to remain in place as long as it is needed and cases continue to rise. There is no set level of infection that triggers this in a particular place, but if it posts more than 40 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, it is likely that extra restrictions will be considered. Leeds City Council said restrictions would be continually monitored and reviewed and additional measures could be brought in the coming weeks if required. Leeds City Council Leader Judith Blake said: "Building on Leeds' sense of community spirit, I'd appeal to everyone to follow these rules, consider the impact your actions could have on others and take your share of the responsibility for protecting our city." Victoria Eaton, Leeds' director of public health, said the city had "very strong arrangements in place" to deal with the pandemic. Ms Eaton said: "As well as the work within campuses we have been working really closely in the areas where students live and socialise. "The challenges are around household and social cases but we've been working with universities, police colleagues, community groups and student members around that. But Leeds City Council's chief executive Tom Riordan said students should bring a "sense of responsibility" to the city as Leeds 'warmly welcomes' those who will study from across the country and beyond. He said: "I guess we need everybody to do what we're asking and I have an 18-year-old in my house and I know the challenges of being a student and wanting to make friends and people wanting to enjoy the start of university life.