LEICESTER will have to remain in lockdown for two more weeks after a local spike in coronavirus cases.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the east Midlands city would be the only place in England not allowed to follow the rest of the country in easing restrictions from July 4.
How many coronavirus cases have there been in Leicester?
Figures on June 16 showed about 25 per cent of the city’s 2,494 cases so far were reported in the previous two weeks.
The town’s Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby told Leicester Mercury on June 29 that he had received an email at 1am with recommendations that the city should stay “under current lockdown restrictions” for a further two weeks.
And speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “What they’re suggesting is not a return to lockdown.
“It seems they’re suggesting we continue the present level of restriction for a further two weeks, beyond 4 July.
“That’s very different from the dramatic ‘lockdown in Leicester’ that was being briefed.”
It means pubs, restaurants and hairdressers in Leicester will have to remain closed for two more weeks.
Mr Hancock said he “cannot recommend that the easing of national lockdown” set to take place on July 4 can happen in Leicester.
He said non-essential retail will have to close from tomorrow and schools will also need to close from Thursday – only staying open for vulnerable kids and those of key workers.
There must also only be essential travel from and to Leicester.
The Health Secretary said the measures will be reviewed in two weeks time.
What did Priti Patel say about a local lockdown?
Ms Patel said she had spoken to Health Secretary Matt Hancock about a possible local lockdown, and said “extra support” would be going into the area.
She said: “With local flare-ups, it is right we have a local solution.”
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth, MP for Leicester South, said more testing is needed urgently in order to “understand the scale of” a spike in cases in Leicester.
Why has there been a spike in the city?
Several schools have been affected, as well as supermarket staff falling ill and food manufacturers confirming cases.
Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe has called for lockdown due to a “perfect storm” of poverty, positive tests and a higher ethnic diversity in the city.
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She said: “I don’t know why they’re not enforcing a lockdown – the evidence suggests there should be one.”
Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, regional director for Public Health England, said: “When it comes to the general trend of the number of cases in Leicester, we started noticing a peak on June 1, and then it appeared to peak again on June 12.
He added that “very few under 18s” are testing positive and that the cases are mainly being detected in working-age people between the ages of 18 and 65.