28 June 2020 12:35
The Independent employs reporters around the world to bring you truly independent journalism. To support us, please consider a contribution. The city of Leicester could see a local lockdown reimposed after a surge in coronavirus cases. Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Sunday that the city might soon be subject to one. "That is correct," she said, in answer to a question on whether the East Midlands city might again face tighter restrictions on movement, after measures have been eased across England.
Download the new Independent Premium app Sharing the full story, not just the headlines "We have seen flare-ups across the country already over recent weeks," she told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. "Just in the last three or four weeks in particular, there was the example of a flare-up in one particular hospital over infection control." "There will be support going into Leicester, and in fact the health secretary was in touch with many of us over the weekend explaining some of the measures, the support on testing, resources that are going in for the local authority as well." Britain's potential first local lockdown could happen "within days," The Sunday Times first reported. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has been examining legal aspects of the shutdown after 658 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the Leicester area in the two weeks up to 16 June. Mr Hancock was reported to be considering "all options". Leicester's mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, told the Leicester Mercury that the city was still looking at which "interventions" might be needed.
"We know that the number of hospital admissions is going down locally and mercifully so is the number of deaths. That is the only firm data we have," Sir Peter added. He said the city council had received information from the government on Thursday to help them understand "which parts of the city might have a particular issue with transmission". The council would work through the data over the weekend, he said, adding: "Until we have done that we do not know what interventions might be required." Daily coronavirus briefing No hype, just the advice and analysis you need Enter your email address Continue Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists. Log in to update your newsletter preferences Register with your social account or click here to log in I would like to receive morning headlines Monday - Friday plus breaking news alerts by email Update newsletter preferences He added: "There is no point speculating about going into a localised lockdown." The Department of Health and Social Care stopped short of saying a local lockdown was likely for Leicester, but acknowledged the city was an area of concern as it urged residents to be vigilant against the virus. "We are supporting the council and local partners in Leicester to help prevent further transmission of the virus," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We have deployed four mobile testing sites and made thousands of home testing kits available, to ensure anyone in the area who needs a test can get one. "NHS Test and Trace will contact anyone testing positive to help them identify their recent contacts and advise who may have been near to someone with the virus to stay at home to prevent the spread. "We urge the people of Leicester to continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands regularly, get tested immediately if they have symptoms and follow the advice they receive if contacted by NHS Test and Trace. This advice is there to protect communities and save lives." The Sunday Times said Leicester's rise in cases follows an outbreak in food production plants in the area and reports of large crowds gathering outside takeaway restaurants. Additional reporting by Press Association UK government considers lockdown in Leicester as COVID-19 infections surge The British government is considering imposing a lockdown in the city of Leicester after a surge of coronavirus cases there, the Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing senior government sources. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is examining a legislation required for the shutdown after it was disclosed that Leicester, a city of around 350,000 people in the East Midlands, has had over 650 COVID-19 cases in the fortnight to June 16th, the newspaper reported. Hancock, who last week sent in a mobile testing unit, is said to be "quite worried" and is considering "all options", including imposing a localised lockdown, according to the report. There are now 2,459 people in Leicestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Public Health England figures released at the weekend. Follow EU Today on Social media: