Matt Hancock tonight shut non-essential shops and closed schools in Leicester as he forced the city back into lockdown following a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases.
The Health Secretary confirmed lockdown measures will be extended in the East Midlands city for at least two weeks, with non-essential shops which opened on June 15 closed again from tomorrow and schools shut from Thursday.
The nationwide easing of restrictions this Saturday – including the reopening of pubs, hair salons and restaurants – will also not extend to the city.
Residents were advised to stay at home as much as possible and were warned against all but essential travel. The drastic move follows a spike in Covid-19 cases in Leicester, which accounted for around 10 per cent of all positive cases in Britain over the past week.
Leicester has an infection rate of 135 per 100,000 people, which is three times higher than the next highest local area, Mr Hancock said. Hospital admissions are also much higher than the norm at between six and ten per day.
‘Having taken clinical advice on the actions necessary and discussed them with the local team in Leicester and Leicestershire, we have made some difficult but important decisions,’ Mr Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons.
‘We’ve decided that from tomorrow, non-essential retail will have to close and as children have been particularly impacted by this outbreak, schools will also need to close from Thursday, staying open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers as they did throughout.
‘Unfortunately, the clinical advice is that the relaxation of shielding measures due on July 6 cannot now take place in Leicester.
‘We recommend to people in Leicester, stay at home as much as you can, and we recommend against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester. We’ll monitor closely adhering to social distancing rules and we’ll take further steps if that is what’s necessary.’
The Government’s decision to enforce…
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