Leicester could face local lockdown following rise in coronavirus cases

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Stacey Foster

Leicester may be facing a localised lockdown after a rise in coronavirus cases, the home secretary has confirmed.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston reported on Saturday that the shutdown could be enforced within days - though he was told that the data does not yet show that a full lockdown is required.

Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, Priti Patel said it was "correct" the city could see a local lockdown after a spike of Covid-19 case.

When asked whether Leicester was going to see new restrictions imposed, Ms Patel replied: “Well, that is correct.

“We have seen flare-ups across the country in recent weeks, in just the last three or four weeks in particular.”

Pressed on the Leicester lockdown, she added: “There will be support going into Leicester and in fact the Health Secretary (Matthew Hancock) was in touch with many of us over the weekend explaining some of the measures, the support on testing, resources that will go into the local authority as well.

“With local flare-ups it is right we have a localised solution in terms of infection control, social distancing, testing and many of the tools actually within the Public Health England space which will come together to control the virus, to stop the spread so obviously we can get on top of the infection.”

Priti Patel said it was 'correct' that Leicester could see a local lockdown. Credit: PA

The Sunday Times said Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been examining legal aspects of the shutdown after it was revealed 658 new cases were recorded in the Leicester area in the two weeks to June 16.

According to LeicesterLive, cases have been reported at the Samworth Bros sandwich factory and a Sainsbury's superstore, and five schools have been closed following outbreaks.

The Department of Health and Social Care on Sunday stopped short of saying a local lockdown was likely for Leicester, but acknowledged the city was an area of concern as it urged residents in the city to be vigilant against the virus.

“We are supporting the council and local partners in Leicester to help prevent further transmission of the virus,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“We have deployed four mobile testing sites and made thousands of home testing kits available, to ensure anyone in the area who needs a test can get one.

“NHS Test and Trace will contact anyone testing positive to help them identify their recent contacts and advise who may have been near to someone with the virus to stay at home to prevent the spread.

“We urge the people of Leicester to continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands regularly, get tested immediately if they have symptoms and follow the advice they receive if contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

"This advice is there to protect communities and save lives.”