Sunday, 12 July, 2020

Targeted measures failed to stop spread in Leicester - Matt Hancock

A woman wearing a protective face mask in Leicester yesterday. A spike in coronavirus cases in the English city has put it back under lockdown. The city's seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 people three times higher than the next hig Leicester first UK city to be put into 'local lockdown'
Deanna Wagner | 01 July, 2020, 08:43

There had been widespread confusion over exactly which towns and villages in Leicestershire are included in the lockdown.

The health secretary said the city had "10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week".

Local officials accused Johnson's administration of being too slow to act in Leicester, an industrial, multicultural city with two universities and factories making shoes, clothes and potato chips.

Speaking with talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer, the Health Secretary said his "heart goes out to the people of Leicester" as he urged them to continue abiding by the social distancing measures.

Mr Hancock told LBC the Government will not be enforcing the lockdown with fines - but they will impose travel restrictions on the people of Leicester if they don't obey the rules.

As pubs, restaurants and cafes get ready to reopen across the country from Saturday, residents in Leicester have been told to stay at home, with schools and shops to shut this week.

He said: "Given the growing outbreak in Leicester we can not recommend that the easing of the national lockdown set to take place on July 4 happens in Leicester".

What support is available for the people of Leicester?

Mr Hancock said the measures will apply not just to the city of Leicester but also "the surrounding conurbation including, for example, Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield".

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"But we've got it now, we are collaborating with he government, we will cooperate with this", he said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Our number one priority has always been to protect jobs and businesses through this outbreak".

"Of course we will if we have to".

The health boss added: "We have not seen any evidence of any widespread community transmission of Covid-19 in Medway".

- The Prime Minister said his message was "build, build, build" as the United Kingdom comes out of lockdown.

- The number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the United Kingdom is now just under 55,000, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

- The UK economy contracted by more than first thought between January and March as the coronavirus crisis saw activity tumble 2.2% in the joint largest fall since 1979, the ONS said.

Mr Hancock said there had been "an unusually high incidence" of coronavirus among children in Leicester but stressed that youngsters were at low risk of serious illness from coronavirus. "It's a very safe environment for the games to be in".

Another commenter claimed the only way it could work was if "armed guards" surrounded the city and suggested that people who worked outside of the lockdown area may face a dilemma.