Leicester could be the first British city to go into a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases there in June, Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed as the Government is offering the council there special support.
There have reportedly been a surge of more than 600 in cases in just two weeks this month in the East Midlands city, which is home to around 340,000 people. The city had 271 Covid-19 deaths up to June 12.
Leicester could face stricter lockdown rules as soon as next week if the Covid-19 situation does not come under control, meaning it could miss out on the mass easing expected for next Saturday, when pubs are set to reopen.
The Department of Health said it has sent extra testing units to Leicester to try and get on top of the virus and urged residents there to be strict about social distancing and washing their hands.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning it was ‘correct’ that a local lockdown was on the cards, adding: ‘With local flare-ups it is right we have a localised solution’.
She added: ‘We have seen flare-ups across the country in recent weeks, in just the last three or four weeks in particular.’
The MP for Leicester East, Claudia Webbe, has actively called for her constituency to be locked down and for her constituents to stay home, saying schools and a supermarket have had to close because the virus is out of control there. The Labour slammed the Government’s social distancing rules as ‘at best confusing’.
However the Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, said the council is not aware of any immediate plans for an isolated lockdown in the city and that suggestions it was set for next week were ‘speculative’.