Sir Peter Soulsby warns enforcing the new lockdown will be ‘quite a challenge’ (Picture: SWNS)

Leicester’s Mayor says the Government hasn’t told him where the outer limits of the city’s coronavirus lockdown will be.

Sir Peter Soulsby warned it would be ‘quite a challenge’ enforcing the new emergency measures without knowing where the boundary begins and ends and said it has been ‘incredibly difficult’ to get data from Downing Street.

Speaking to the Commons yesterday evening Health Secretary Matt Hancock said all non-essential shops in the East Midlands city must close from Tuesday and that schools must shut their doors to most pupils from Thursday.

Leicester’s pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers won’t be able to get back to business in line with the rest of England on July 4 as coronavirus cases were said to be ‘three times higher than the next highest city’. People are being asked once again to only leave their home for essential journeys while measures for people who are shielding will no longer be eased on July 6.

Hancock has said measures will be reviewed by officials in two weeks and will not be kept in place ‘any longer then necessary’. Speaking about the lockdown to Sky News today, Sir Peter said: ‘We were talking with the Chief Constable yesterday about the role he and his officers will have to play in this, because obviously the council doesn’t have the resources to do it.’

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He dismissed the idea of police road blocks as ‘wholly impractical’ but said he had been working with the local authorities to identify an appropriate border or the lockdown. The Mayor added: ‘Obviously the city council’s administrative boundary is very tightly drawn well within the whole built up area the people know of as Leicester.

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‘As yet, the Government hasn’t actually announced what it accepts to be the boundary of this lockdown, so actually policing it is going to be something of a challenge until we know actually what the area it to be policed.’

When asked if agreed with the suggestion the border could be three miles to the north and south of the city centre, the Mayor said: ‘That is obviously a very imprecise description of it.

He added: ‘It may be that that’s how they do describe it, but 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 and as yet we don’t.’

The Government is expected to announce more details on the city’s lockdown as it unveils a new law later this morning.

Sir Peter added: ‘It’s now 11 days since the Secretary of State first announced that he believed that there was an outbreak here in Leicester.


A woman wearing a protective face mask walks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Leicester, Britain, June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Molly Darlington
A woman wears a protective face mask walking through Leicester (Picture: Reuters)

‘And we’ve spent a lot of time over those 11 days trying to get the data, trying to understand what is happening in our city and also trying to get them to commit to do the testing here in Leicester, because although they did send a testing unit into the city they announced it was only staying for the day and then was going somewhere else.

‘That level of commitment is something that’s been a struggle for us and I’m glad now at last we’ve got a clear way forward and a clear commitment to support the city.’

The new measures come after more than 800 new cases were recorded in Leicester area over the past two weeks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously told Sky News: ‘We are concerned about Leicester – about any local outbreak – and I want to stress to people that we are not out of the woods yet.

‘We have to remain vigilant and do the basics, washing hands and all that, plus we have to have local lockdowns and strategies.’

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Source: Metro