Leicester could be set for localised lockdown following surge in cases

Henrietta Brewer
June 29, 2020

This comes amid a Sunday Times report that the United Kingdom government is preparing for its first localised lockdown "within days" as the new cases of coronavirus surge in Leicester.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is "quite worried" about the new figures and is considering all options on the table, the newspaper said.

Hancock said on 27 May that local lockdowns could be used in specific areas in England if there were localised "flare-ups".

Four mobile testing units have been sent to the city in the past week and health officials are said to be closely monitoring clusters of new cases linked to food processing plants.

"There will be a support in Leicester and the minister of Health has been in contact with many of us during the weekend to explain some of the measures", she explained.

"With local flare-ups it is right we have a localised solution in terms of infection control, social distancing, testing and numerous tools actually within the Public Health England space which will come together to control the virus, to stop the spread so obviously we can get on top of the infection".

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) acknowledged on Sunday that the city was a primary concern, urging residents to remain vigilant but did not announce a return to total lockdown for the city.

"It seems to be community spread, there's no one site like a factory for example that we can trace it back to".

The statement said that NHS Test and Trace will contact anyone who has been confined as positive and help them identify any recent contacts and advise them to stay at home to help prevent the spread.

The BBC reported that numerous cases are localized in North Evington, an area of Leicester.

An anonymous source close to the cabinet minister said he is "quite worried" and is considering "all options" for the government's response including a return to lockdown which would be imposed exclusively on the city rather than nationally. "Would you lockdown the entire city?" he asked.

A government spokesperson said they were supporting officials in Leicester in their battle against the disease.

"I don't think at the moment we're seeing a single cause or single smoking gun on this, so we really need to try to dig down and find out what is going on and it's likely to be a combination of factors".

"The Government must be absolutely clear how localised lockdowns will work, including who is responsible for managing these and what support will be in place for individuals and businesses affected".

"Urban sprawl has allowed towns and cities to expand resulting in these areas often joining other areas who identify differently and do not see themselves as part of the expanding town or city".

"People do not identify with their regional boundaries and many would not actually know where they are".

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