Leicester has become the first city in Britain to be placed in a local lockdown after public health officials voiced concern at the city’s alarming rise in Covid-19 cases.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that from Tuesday 30 June, non-essential shops in the city will be forced to close, and starting from Thursday 2 July, schools will be shut to all but the most vulnerable children, as well as the children of key workers.
Residents have been advised to “stay at home as much as you can”, while members of the public outside of the city have been told to avoid all non-essential travel to the region.
The lockdown, which was signed off by Boris Johnson, was a difficult decision to make, the Health Secretary said.
He told Parliament: “I know that this is a worrying time for people living in Leicester and I want you to know you have our full support.”
“We do not take these decisions lightly but with the interests of the people of Leicester in our hearts.”
Why has Leicester been chosen for a local lockdown?
In recent weeks, health officials in Leicester have reported an increasing number of infections within the city.
In the two weeks leading up to June 23, for example, Leicester City Council reported 944 positive coronavirus tests.
In Monday’s announcement, Matt Hancock revealed the city’s seven day infection rate was “three times higher than the next highest city”, while in the past week, the city accounted for 10 per cent of all positive Covid-19 cases throughout the country.
The Health Secretary said that targeted action at hot spots such as schools and workplaces, had failed to reduce the number of infections and as a result “broader measures” such as a localised lockdown were needed.
What areas are included in Leicester’s lockdown?
In Monday’s announcement, Mr Hancock said the lockdown would cover the city of Leicester as well as “the surrounding conurbation including for example, Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield”.
On Tuesday 30 June, the official map of the lockdown boundaries was released with areas such as Birstall, Beaumont Leys, Glenfield and South Wigston all included.