Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday (19 June 2020) a local lockdown on Leicester to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak. As part of this local lockdown, all ‘non-essential’ retail stores have been required to close their doors once again, effective from today (Tuesday 30 June).
Speaking of the local lockdown, Hancock said: “Precise and targeted actions like these will give the virus nowhere to hide and help us defeat this invisible killer.
He added: “Local action like this is an important tool in our armoury to deal with outbreaks while we get the country back on its feet.”
While the number of positive new cases of coronavirus is now in decline at a national level, with new cases now below 1,000 a day, cases have continued to rise in Leicester. Leicester accounts for around 10 per cent of all positive cases in the country over the past week. The seven-day infection rate in Leicester is 135 cases per 100,000 people, which is three times higher than the next highest city.
Over the past fortnight, the Government has already taken action in Leicester, including the deployment of mobile testing units and extra capacity at the regional test site. Thousands of home testing kits have also been distributed, as well as extra public health capacity to boost the local team.
But given the continued increase in Covid-19 cases in Leicester, further measures to tackle the outbreak at a local level were agreed on by the Government.
All non-essential retailers, as well as schools, have been required to close their doors from today (30 June).
Furthermore, given the growing outbreak in Leicester, the Government has advised that the easing of the national lockdown, set to take place on the 4 July in England, will not apply to Leicester.
These Leicester-specific measures will apply not just to the city of Leicester, but also to the surrounding conurbation, including for example, Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield.
In addition to these amendments to the guidelines, the Government is sending more mobile testing units to the area, a walk-in centre is to be opened, and additional funding and support has been made available to protect those living in the area. Anyone in Leicester with symptoms has been asked to come forward for a test.
People in Leicester have been asked to stay at home as much as they can and it all have been advised against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester.
Hancock said: “We will monitor closely adherence to social distancing rules and will take further steps if that is what’s necessary. The more people following the rules, the faster we will get control of this virus and get Leicester back to normal. We will keep all of these local measures under review and we will not keep them in place any longer than is necessary.
“I want everyone in Leicester to know that we have taken every one of these decisions to protect them from this terrible virus.
“These actions are also profoundly in the national interest too because it’s in everyone’s interests that we control the virus as locally as possible.”