Government Relaxes Leicester's Local Lockdown

Matt Hancock said "some, but not all" restrictions would be lifted from July 24.

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Leicester’s local coronavirus lockdown is to be partially relaxed, the government has confirmed.

Matt Hancock told reporters on Thursday evening that “some, but not all” restrictions in the city would be relaxed, as virus rates “still remain well above the national average and the average for surrounding areas”.

From July 24, restrictions on schools and early years education will lift, and some non-essential retail will be able to reopen. However, authorities in Leicester will be given localised powers to close shops where necessary.

Restrictions on travel and social gatherings of more than six people will remain in place, while the hospitality sector – which began to reopen in England on July 4 – will remain closed in Leicester.

Leicester became the first place in the country to have tight restrictions reimposed on June 30 following a rise in coronavirus infections.

Hancock said: “The latest data shows that the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is now 119 cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of people testing positive is now at 4.8%.

“These are positive indicators, especially in light of the huge increase in testing.”

He compared the figures to when the lockdown was imposed and the seven-day infection rate was 135 and 10% of tests were positive.

He added: “I committed to reviewing the measures in Leicester every two weeks. This morning I chaired a gold meeting of the local action committee to discuss the latest situation and this afternoon I held a further meeting with local leaders, Public Health England, the JBC, the local resilience forum and my clinical advisers.”

The seven-day infection rate was 143.6 in the week leading up to June 28, just before the local lockdown was imposed.

A worker for Leicester City Council carries a bag of clinical waste away from a Covid-19 testing station.
A worker for Leicester City Council carries a bag of clinical waste away from a Covid-19 testing station.
Joe Giddens - PA Images via Getty Images

Speaking on Thursday morning, Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby claimed the local coronavirus outbreak was being dramatically driven down.

Soulsby claimed data provided to city officials highlighted that only 10% of Leicester had seen higher transmission rates.

He told BBC Radio Leicester the government had got local people into a “messy situation” by its handling of the restrictions.

Asked what his reaction would be if the government announced a further two-week lockdown, Soulsby said: “I think if we are told that, there are going to be an awful lot of Leicester people who are very angry indeed.

“It was quite clear that it was a political decision taken without the advice of Public Health England to take us into this lockdown in the first place.

“It’ll be a political decision to let us out and the sooner that political decision is taken, the better.”


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