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Coronavirus UK: Leicester remains locked outside of schools


The Mayor of Leicester condemned Matt Hancock for taking a "sledgehammer approach" to the city's closure, and accused the government of "partisan" goals after the restrictions focused on areas devoted to Labor and the Lib Dems are operated.

The health minister announced yesterday evening that as of Friday, July 24, only schools and kindergartens can be reopened, while the rest of the city still faces a number of restrictions on their freedom.

Under the plans, local councils would be empowered to close unnecessary shops, pubs and restaurants would remain closed, and restrictions on non-essential travel and only social gatherings of up to six would remain in place pending further review in a fortnight.

In an urgent statement in front of the House of Commons, Hancock said the coronavirus infection rate in the city is still too high to unblock.

Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby criticized the decision to maintain restrictions in the Labor-led city of Leicester and Liberal-controlled Oadby and Wigson.

He said, “You decided to focus on the city's geographic area – effectively the area of ​​the county where Labor is elected, and that's just scandalous.

The Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, reacts when he remotely watches tonight's announcement by Health Minister Matt Hancock

A map outlining the new boundaries of the local Leicester lockdown that Matt Hancock has announced will enter into force on July 24th

A map outlining the new boundaries of the local Leicester lockdown that Matt Hancock has announced will enter into force on July 24th

WHAT CAUSED A SPIKE IN LEICESTER?

Government officials, local politicians, and academics initially disagreed whether Leicester experienced a real surge in cases or whether better tests simply consisted of finding more of them where it wasn't before.

It is also not clear whether there are any characteristics of Leicester that make it more likely that an increase will occur in certain cases, or whether accidental coincidences have led to the first "second wave" taking place there.

Experts say that many of the risk factors in Leicester are the same in all major cities in England.

The city's mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, told BBC Radio 4 that a report sent to him by the government actually confirmed that it was very likely that the increase in the number of positives identified was due to increased testing and that it was there may be nothing of great importance for these results. & # 39;

The city's public health director, Ivan Browne, said: “Interestingly, (the increase in cases) it is very much the younger working age population and mostly the eastern part of our city. We have started to see this level through our test program.

“Young people work in many industries across the city. At this stage, we try to collect as much epidemiological information as possible to really try to get to it and understand it. I don't think we're seeing a single source or smoking gun at the moment. "

It was always likely that voltage spikes would first appear in cities. There are more people, which increases the risk, and these people are more likely to live in densely populated areas and come into contact with strangers on a regular basis.

Dr. Shaun Fitzgerald of Cambridge University said: “There will be differences in the ease with which people can maintain physical distances between densely populated areas and rural environments. So it's not surprising to me that we may see localized torches. Oops, which in turn have to be suppressed by delayed relaxation or temporary reintroduction of some restrictions on certain movements and activities. "

Leicester also has a high level of deprivation, which affects people's lives in a way that puts them at risk of getting the virus.

Dr. Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline: “In disadvantaged areas, people have to go to work more often, are less able to work from home, and use public transportation more often. You cannot distance yourself from others. & # 39;

The Samworth Brothers sandwich factory in the city reported last weekend that it had diagnosed cases of Covid-19 among its employees.

Food processing factories are at greater risk of transmission because the virus can survive longer in cold environments on hard surfaces and people's airways become more susceptible to infection.

Dr. Clarke added that the type of work people do could increase their risk.

"Blue collar cities are now at higher risk than places like London and Manchester that offer more financial services," he added.

“If they changed the border, they would have had to go to the area where they now know where the virus is.

“You left two areas there – one with a Liberal Democratic Council and one with a Labor Mayor.

The fact is that they have focused in a way that is clearly partisan and that this is not a way to deal with the virus.

"This is not a way to deal with people who will be very angry and very frustrated that they will be punished for the way they choose."

He continued, “Of course, I am determined to continue to focus on what the data is telling us now – to continue to focus on the neighborhoods, the streets, the households where we now know that the virus exists.

“They are ready not only to punish this city, but also to punish its economy.

“Because right at the beginning there were commitments from the Foreign Minister that there would be a financial package – a compensation system – for our companies that would be withheld.

“Now, two weeks later, he still doesn't keep that promise.

"Obviously, that's a big concern for me and those who care about the future well-being of this city."

In the rest of England, all non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes have been open since July 4th. However, this will happen in the city of Midlands at the end of this month at the earliest.

Sir Peter added: “I am not surprised by this decision, but I am extremely frustrated that a sledgehammer approach is being used to solve a problem in a very small part of the city.

“Now that we finally have the very detailed data that we have requested in the past few months, we can take targeted local measures to bring the virus under control without the need for law or a complete blockade of the city.

“We have already shown the government what can be achieved by working with local councils by helping them set up the country's largest test facility, which is now responsible for more than 10% of all tests in England.

"If the government allows us to focus on the 10% of the city where the infection rates are higher, we will be more than able to do what is necessary."

Mr. Hancock said the Covid-19 infection rate in Leicester had dropped to 119 cases per 100,000 people.

It was 135 per 100,000 when the ban was introduced on June 30, which was three times higher than in the next worst affected city.

The health minister said he "paid tribute" to the "strength" of people living in Leicester and said it was their collaboration that would help eradicate the virus.

Mr. Hancock said, “The latest data shows that the 7-day infection rate in Leicester is now 119 cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of people who tested positive is now 4.8 percent.

"These are positive indicators, especially given the huge increase in testing."

He compared the numbers to the time of closure and the seven-day infection rate of 135, and 10 percent of the tests were positive.

He added: “I have committed to reviewing the Leicester operations every two weeks.

"This morning I led a local action committee gold meeting to discuss the latest situation and this afternoon I held another meeting with local leaders, Public Health England, the JBC, the local resilience forum and my clinical advisors."

Mr. Hancock added: “Some say the local lock is unnecessary.

"I wish this were true, but unfortunately it is vital for the health of everyone in Leicester and the rest of the country that these restrictions remain in place. We will review it again in two weeks. & # 39;

In the meantime, all three of the city's Labor MPs responded to the announcement on social media.

Liz Kendall, MP from Leicester West, tweeted: “People across Leicester will be disappointed that our hotel sector may not be open to retail, but it cannot. I will continue to push for additional support for our businesses and public services and further reduce our infection rates. & # 39;

Her counterpart in Leicester South, Jonathan Ashworth, added: “Leicester remains suspended and we have no clarity on how we will be released.

“Our local health authorities need more test data and we need to step up the tests on site. And we need public health advice on why the city remains closed, but neighborhoods next to the city can be released. & # 39;

Claudia Webbe, MP from Leicester East, wrote on Twitter: & # 39; It is disappointing that many parts of Leicester will remain in #LeicesterLockdown.

“However, there are still high rates of positive tests, especially in parts of the city with a high level of disadvantage, poverty and inequality. If we defeat the virus, we cannot go back to business as usual. & # 39;

Leicester has to spend another two weeks in a tighter lockdown than the rest of England, Health Minister Matt Hancock said today (Image: people walking through the city center)

Leicester has to spend another two weeks in a tighter lockdown than the rest of England, Health Minister Matt Hancock said today (Image: people walking through the city center)

This was the Leicester area, which was closed for the first time last month when officials realized that the number of cases in the city was dangerously high. Restrictions may now apply to a smaller area that only includes the city center, Oadby and Wigston

This was the Leicester area, which was closed for the first time last month when officials realized that the number of cases in the city was dangerously high. Restrictions may now apply to a smaller area that only includes the city center, Oadby and Wigston

When Sir Peter spoke in the Sky News earlier this morning, he criticized what he termed the government's "blanket, politically blocked" entire city and said he was angry and frustrated.

He said: “Honestly, we weren't involved in any decision.

"We have been told what the political decisions will look like, and we will see again what the political decisions will look like – whether or not we emerge from them."

When asked how he would react if the government announced another two-week ban – which it now has for the most part – the city mayor said, "I think if we are told that there will be a lot of Leicester people, who are very angry indeed.

& # 39; It was pretty clear that it was a political decision made without the advice of Public Health England to get us into this block at all. It will be a political decision to let us out, and the sooner that political decision is made, the better. & # 39;

The mayor had said that the inner-city areas of Leicester with a high degree of disadvantage are "most severely" affected by the corona virus and it is no longer justified to keep the remaining 90 percent of the city closed.

Leicester was the first place in the country where strict measures were imposed on June 30 after an increase in coronavirus infections.

Officials found that people in certain parts of the city were infected at alarming rates, and the only way was to put the area back in a locked state.

Various factors have been blamed for causing Leicester to suffer more than other areas, including large numbers of people working in factories or cramped industrial workplaces, increased testing, Asian families living in large households, or language barriers, which means that People don't follow government guidelines.

However, when the spike started, experts said they had always expected this to happen in a city and that a worker like Leicester was more at risk than anywhere else in London or Manchester, where more people were doing office work and from home work.

Leicester is also a densely populated city, which means that people come into contact with strangers more often.

Dr. Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline: “In disadvantaged areas, people have to go to work more often, work less from home, and are more likely to use public transportation. You cannot distance yourself from others. & # 39;

Dr. Clarke added that the type of work people do could increase their risk.

"Blue collar cities are now at higher risk than places like London and Manchester that offer more financial services," he added.

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Coronavirus (t) News from the British government and updates from the British Cabinet (t) Matt Hancock