Government ‘hasn’t got a clue' over effectiveness of Leicester local lockdown

13 July 2020, 09:03

Leicester has been in local lockdown for two weeks due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the area
Leicester has been in local lockdown for two weeks due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the area. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Leicester's mayor has said the Department of Health ‘hasn’t got a clue’ if the local lockdown imposed on the city has been successful or not.

Two weeks ago Health Secretary announced Leicester would be the first city to be put under a local lockdown - restrictions he is expected to review later this week.

But now the city's mayor has hit out at the Government suggesting the Department for Health has no way of measuring if the lockdown in the area has worked.

Sir Peter Soulsby said that having "finally" been provided with "useful data", they know that around 10 per cent of the city has recorded a higher transmission of the virus.

He said: "If we had known that weeks ago we could've actually dealt with it at that time and prevented this lockdown."

Sir Peter said the data made it clear the city had a couple of areas with "higher than the average transmission of the virus," adding "and certainly the way in which the city has been locked down in its entirety, and indeed beyond our boundary, is not justified.

"We should have been able to know this many, many weeks ago and we should have focused on those areas, preventing the transmission there."

The mayor had previously told LBC he had struggled to obtain testing data from the Government.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announces local lockdown in Leicester

But, Sir Peter has said Leicester needed a more detailed breakdown of testing data in order to identify where the virus is being passed on.

The mayor said: "Even now we're getting it (the data), it doesn't have some of the vital stuff that we need, particularly in a city like Leicester.

"We need to know the ethnicity of the people who are being tested, we need to know where they are working. There's been all this talk about perhaps it's passed on in factories, but we have no way of knowing that."

Angry Leicester Mayor responds to reports over local Covid lockdown

Asked if he hoped the lockdown restrictions would be lifted soon, he said: "I very much hope so, yes."

But he added: "It was clear from discussions we were having last week with them (the Department of Health) that they haven't yet got a clue of how on earth they're going to measure what constitutes success in this.

"I mean even the data we're getting now is the best part of two weeks' out of date, and we need to be knowing, on a day-by-day basis street-by-street basis, what that data is telling us and then we can tell whether or not, in those particular neighbourhoods, we're actually combating the virus effectively."

The Department of Health and Social Care said 44,819 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Friday - up by 21 from 44,798 the previous day.

The Government figures do not include all deaths involving Covid-19 across the UK, which are thought to have passed 55,000.