Leeds marked 'area of concern' amid fears of local lockdown

4 September 2020, 11:57 | Updated: 4 September 2020, 16:23

Passengers wearing face masks at Leeds railway station
Passengers wearing face masks at Leeds railway station. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Leeds has been designated an "area of concern" amid warnings it could be placed into a local lockdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise.

The city has said there will be "no alternative" to further lockdown restrictions if case numbers fail to come down.

The city council has said that while being on the list would not mean further restrictions would be brought in at this stage, it would mean increased monitoring of cases and could see additional steps taken in the future.

They said new coronavirus cases "may be linked to social interaction and leisure activities" and the virus is being "increasingly detected in younger people aged 18-34, with some concern over activities like house parties and gatherings."

Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West, announced the city had been marked an "area of concern" on Twitter.

She wrote: "Leeds is now an "area of concern" after a rise in coronavirus cases across the city.

"It’s vital we social distance, wear face masks where required, regularly wash our hands & if you have symptoms get tested & self-isolate if needed."

The latest seven-day infection rate shows Leeds as having 32.4 cases per 100,000 people, with 44 new cases today identified on Wednesday and a testing positivity rate of 4.2 per cent.

Council leader and chair of the outbreak control board, Judith Blake, said: "This is a pivotal moment in our efforts to control the spread of the virus in Leeds and to keep our city open.

"Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Leeds and we want to assure everyone that we're doing absolutely everything within our power to avoid that happening.

"But the harsh reality is that if our infection rate continues to rise as it has been, we will be left with no alternative.

"With that in mind, now more than ever we need a collective effort from the people of Leeds who have shown so much resilience and civic pride throughout this crisis.

Read more: Test Scandal - LBC listener told to drive 341 miles for Covid swab

Read more: 'More than 400 daily care home deaths at peak of UK Covid outbreak' - report

Read more: Portugal and Greece remain on England's travel corridor list

"It's up to us all to keep our families, friends and neighbours safe and to play our part in keeping Leeds's recovery going."

The council has reminded people to isolate if anyone in their household is showing Covid-19 symptoms, to keep social distancing, wear a face covering and to wash hands regularly.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council's director of public health, said: "It's imperative that we do all we can to contain the spread of this virus and protect one another at this crucial time for the city."