The lockdown in Leicester is highly expected to be extended after concerns that the city’s coronavirus infection rate is still far too high.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, met Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby on Monday to discuss the measures, the decision on whether to extend the lockdown for another two weeks is expected to be made on this coming Saturday.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jonathan Van Tam, said on Monday that Leicester remains an “outlier,” with higher Covid-19 infection rates. He went on to say that while it would not be his decision to end the lockdown, doing so “can’t be rushed. If you do more tests and there is not much disease out there you simply see more negatives but if you do more tests and you continue to see a higher rate of disease if gives you more confidence there is an issue in the local area.”
“This is where we are with Leicester and it is going to take a little while.”
Testing for the virus has been massively stepped up in the city over the last fortnight and Dr Van Tam quoted a Public Health England report from Friday (July 11) which said the seven-day rate of infection in Leicester was 126 per 100,000 people. He compared that to Derby and Nottingham which had respective rates of 9.3 and 5.4.
Leicester mayor, Sir Peter Souldby, said it had taken “weeks” to “finally get some useful data” from the government. He said: “It’s very clear when you look at the data it’s a couple of areas of the city that have got a higher than average transmission of the virus.
“Certainly the way the city’s been locked down in its entirety, and even beyond its boundaries, is not justified.”