Coronavirus: Leicester local lockdown - what is closing down, why and where?

30 June 2020, 11:52

Leicester has been plunged back into a 'local lockdown'
Leicester has been plunged back into a 'local lockdown'. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

What is closing down in Leicester and why? As the area is plunged into local lockdown people are asking why are schools closing and what parts of Leicester will be shut down?

Parts of Leicester have been put into "local lockdown" after a regional spike in cases of Covid-19 which will see restrictions imposed on the area.

The move is part of what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called his "whack-a-mole strategy" which cracks down on local flare-ups.

Read more: What is a local lockdown and how do they work?

While shops, pubs and restaurants across England are set to reopen amid the easing of lockdown measures in Leicester the picture is now very different.

Here's everything we know so far about the Leicester lockdown.

What is closing down in Leicester and why?

A spike in infections in Leicester means the city has three times more cases than the city with the next highest total.

Mr Hancock said the city's seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000.

Leicester City Council said it had seen 944 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past two weeks.

Read more: Government will change law to enforce local lockdown in Leicester

To arrest the spread of the virus, from Tuesday all non-essential shops will have to shut while schools will close their doors to most pupils from Thursday.

All but essential travel to, from and within the city is being discouraged, while residents are being told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

The planned reopening of more businesses including restaurants, pubs and hairdressers in England on July 4 will also not take place in the city.

Why are schools closing?

Mr Hancock said there had been "a number of positive cases in the under-18s" detected through coronavirus testing.

He said that even though children are less likely to get ill from the disease, the decision to shut the city's schools was made to try to halt further transmissions.

"That's why we took the decision, with a heavy heart it has to be said, to close schools in Leicester and in Leicestershire, within the Leicester conurbation," he said.

Schools will stay open for vulnerable youngsters and children of critical workers as they did before and people will be able to travel for childcare.

Some schools had already closed prior to the local lockdown.

The area of the lockdown was outlined on Tuesday morning
The area of the lockdown was outlined on Tuesday morning. Picture: Leicester City Council

What geographical area is covered?

As well as the city of Leicester, which had a population of 329,839 people at the 2011 census, the "surrounding conurbation" will also be affected.

Mr Hancock previously cited the town of Oadby and the villages of Glenfield and Birstall as examples.

On Tuesday morning, Leicestershire County Council published a map of the lockdown area including the majority of the city itself and parts of Leicestershire that touch on the city's boundaries.

This includes parts of Blaby District and Charnwood in the county.

Previously, Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby said policing the lockdown would be "something of a challenge" without knowing what the boundaries were.

How will it be enforced?

Mr Hancock told LBC on Tuesday that the law will be changed to close all non-essential shops in Leicester.

The Health Secretary told Nick Ferrari the Government "will if we have to" impose travel restrictions in Leicester, but said they hoped people in the city would "do the right thing."

Police in the city said they would continue to liaise with partners in relation to current Health Protection Regulations and guidelines and respond appropriately to changes.

A spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: "This is a dynamic situation and we will adjust accordingly providing proportionate policing under the relevant legislation to help keep people safe in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Our approach has always been clear that we will use the four Es – Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce where necessary."

"We continue to encourage communities to follow the Government’s guidelines. Please continue to maintain two metres social distancing, wash your hands regularly and get a test if you believe you do have symptoms."

What support is available for the people of Leicester?

Mr Hancock said extra money was being sent to Leicester and Leicestershire councils "to support them to enhance their communications" as well as making support available for people who need to self-isolate.

Through the councils, authorities will also help workplaces with coronavirus clusters to "implement more stringently the Covid-secure guidelines".

Mr Hancock added: "We are providing funding for local support.

"I just want to reiterate to those who are in Leicester right now... that the furlough scheme is in existence and it works now in the same way that it's worked across the country."

Mr Hancock said the Government is "still getting to the bottom of" the reasons why the outbreak in Leicester has occurred.