Law will be changed to enforce local lockdown in Leicester, Hancock says

Tanya Simon
June 30, 2020

Mr Hancock said the city accounted for 10 per cent of all positive cases in the country over the past week and hospital admissions were between six and 10 a day, also higher than in other places.

The shadow health secretary told MPs in the Commons: "People in Leicester were concerned, anxious and scared to read in the newspapers and see on the TV screens yesterday news that we were going into some form of lockdown based on anonymous briefings".

Matt Hancock made the announcement in the House of Commons.

"Some of the measures that we've unfortunately had to take in Leicester will require a legal underpinning".

Schools in the city, where the remains of King Richard III of England were found under a vehicle park in 2012, will close from Thursday with Hancock saying there had been an unusually high incidence of infections in children there.

In addition, he said schools will have to close from Thursday as children have been particularly hit during this outbreak.

Leicester has become the first area of the United Kingdom to see a localised lockdown following a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the city.

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Regarding travel restrictions, the Health Secretary said "we will if we have to", but he added he hoped people in the city would "do the right thing".

The British government is reimposing an array of lockdown restrictions, including the closure of schools, in the central city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections. He also said that travel to, from and within the city will have to be curtailed and social distancing rules will be monitored.

Concerns over Leicester have mounted in recent days following the increase in cases, though there has been some confusion as to the government's intentions following a weekend of mixed messages that appeared to come as a surprise to local officials.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has talked of a "whack-a-mole" strategy for tackling local outbreaks of the virus.

He said exact details of which wards in Leicestershire are included in the new lockdown measures will be published "imminently".

"It took a long time for information about the scale of that hotspot to actually be communicated to the local authorities in Leicester", she told Sky News.

"I am determined that we will make this work and to minimise the time these additional measures need to be in place in the city".

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