Leicester mayor insists local lockdown is speculation

Leicester city’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has said there has been no discussion with the government about the need for a local lockdown in the city, despite comments made by ministers.

The council issued a strong-worded statement yesterday (28 June) after home secretary Pritti Patel appeared on the BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

During her interview, Ms Patel said there will be ‘support going into Leicester’, and mentioned that the health secretary was ‘in touch with many of those over the weekend explaining some of the measures’.

‘Because with local flare-ups it’s right that we have a localised solution in terms of infection control, social distancing, testing and many of the tools actually within the Public Health England space that will come together to control the virus and to stop the spread. So obviously that we can get on top of the infection,’ said the home secretary.

In the statement, Leicester City Council said it was provided with detailed testing information for the first time on 25 June, one week after Mr Hancock announced that there was a local outbreak in Leicester.

The latest figures (23 June) from Public Health England show that 2,987 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Leicester since the start of the epidemic.

Of these, 866 cases were reported in the last two weeks.

The council said it had asked the government for more detailed information after its own public health team noticed a surge in the number of people testing positive in the city.

In the meantime, the government has agreed to provide more testing facilities in Leicester and the council has been working with Public Health England to reinforce current guidelines around social distancing and hand hygiene, and to introduce local messaging around limiting contact with others.

‘More testing and immediate access to the data is key to determining what intervention is needed,’ said Sir Peter.

‘Whether that intervention is giving more advice or something more dramatic we don’t yet know.

‘If it is decided that a local lockdown is needed the city council currently has no powers to implement this, and there would need to be extensive discussion around the area to be locked down, including whether this extends beyond the city boundaries.’

Photo Credit – Jarmoluk (Pixabay)

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