Leicester first United Kingdom city to be put into 'local lockdown'

Ross Houston
June 30, 2020

After a spike in coronavirus cases in the city, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that non-essential shops will close from Tuesday and schools will close to most pupils from Thursday.

The Leicester lockdown was overshadowing a major speech by Johnson later on Tuesday in Dudley, just 50 miles away, in which he will detail plans to rebuild the British economy after it was battered by the coronavirus lockdown.

He said in order to control the virus "it requires sacrifices by everybody, we need to do that in Leicester now".

"On shops, the non-essential retail, we will be closing them by law and changing the law in the next day or two to put that into effect", Mr Hancock said.

This comes after it was reported earlier today Leicester could become the first area in the United Kingdom to be put under a local lockdown.

"Of course we will take further action including putting in place laws if that is necessary but I very much hope it won't be". He also said that travel to, from and within the city will have to be curtailed and social distancing rules will be monitored.

He said the government had to take "difficult but important decisions" for the benefit of Leicester's population, which is thought to number around 350,000.

Eleven of Anxin's cases are linked to this month's cluster of infections at a wholesale food market in Beijing, though officials say mass testing has largely brought that outbreak under control.

He said exact details of which wards in Leicestershire are included in the new lockdown measures will be published "imminently".

He added: "Whether it's a blue line on a map or a radius from the clock tower right at the heart of the city, I think we all need to know".

The government will review whether it can lift any of the measures in two weeks' time, the health secretary said. The government, which sets the coronavirus response for England, has said it won't hesitate to reimpose lockdown restrictions on a specific region in the event of a local outbreak.

Labour's shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said it is important that "lessons are learned from what's happened in Leicester".

"It took a long time for information about the scale of that hotspot to actually be communicated to the local authorities in Leicester", she told Sky News.

"We can't have that lengthy delay occurring again. We really need to speed this up".

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