Leicester lockdown to be partially eased but area ‘not out of the woods’
Schools and non-essential shops are due to reopen in parts of Leicester which were put back into lockdown after a rise in coronavirus cases – but the NHS Test and Trace chief has warned the area is not “completely out of the woods”.
On Friday, some measures will be eased in Leicester City and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston but bars, restaurants and hairdressers will remain closed.
Baroness Harding, who is in charge of NHS Test and Trace, said while it was an “encouraging sign” that the infection rate in Leicester is beginning to fall “it’s still very high”.
She told the BBC: “One of the challenges with Covid is that it takes 14 days from the time we have taken action to be really confident that that action is making a difference.
“The encouraging sign in Leicester is that the infection rate is starting to go down but it’s still very high.
“I don’t think that Leicester is completely out of the woods yet and it’s really important that anyone living in Leicester comes forward for a test – if they are in any doubt they should come forward for a test.”
She said there are particular concerns about coronavirus spreading in South Asian communities in England.
Baroness Harding reiterated the advice for everyone to maintain good hand hygiene and socially distance.
In Blaby and Charnwood, non-essential shops, bars, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to reopen on July 18, while schools and educational settings could reopen from July 20.
Shielding must continue in all areas, the Government said, and the next review is due to take place by August 1.
Boris Johnson announced last week that councils across England would be given powers to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces, and cancel events where necessary, in a move welcomed by the Local Government Association as one that would help prevent local lockdowns.
Leicester’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has been critical of the Government, saying it took a “sledgehammer approach” to the city’s lockdown – imposed from July 4 – and that data provided to city officials highlighted only 10% of Leicester had shown higher transmission rates.