Leicester Lockdown: Where Are We Now?

Credit: PA Images / Leicestershire County Council

By ITV Central Producer, Raheem Rashid

It’s now been two weeks since Leicester went into local lockdown, becoming the first city in the country to do so.

It came after a spike in the number of coronavirus cases being recorded in the area.

As the local lockdown was being announced, 10% of all recorded coronavirus cases in the country had come from Leicester, in just that previous week.

So, where are we now?


Has the infection rate fallen?

Leicester's rate of new Covid-19 cases has fallen from its recent peak, according to the latest figures from NHS England.

  • The equivalent of 115.4 cases per 100,000 people were detected in the seven days to July 9.

  • That's fallen slightly on 119.9 cases per 100,000 people that were recorded in the previous seven days to July 2.


What areas of Leicestershire are still in lockdown?

  • In Blaby District:

    •  Braunstone Town (including Fosse Park)

    • Glenfield

    • Glen Parva

    • Leicester Forest East (East of the M1)

    • Thorpe Astley

  • In Charnwood:

    • Birstall

    • Thurmaston

  • All areas of Oadby and Wigston.

A map showing the extent of the area under lockdown (within the red line) Credit: Leicestershire County Council

Is the outbreak worse in certain parts of Leicestershire?

Yes.

Oadby and Wigston, which is also included in the lockdown, has become the area outside of the city with the highest infection rate.

More than 9,000 households in the borough have been told to get tested for the virus - whether they have symptoms or not.

Residents are being given a leaflet and sent texts from their GP telling them to get tested.


So was the lockdown necessary for ALL parts?

Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby says he's “finally” been given “useful data” which he asked for weeks ago.

Speaking this morning, he said it shows the local lockdown was unjustified and preventable, as only a small number of neighbourhoods (around 10% of the city) had higher than expected Covid-19 transmission rates.

Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council Credit: ITV Central

The Government is now being asked to release some suburbs of Leicester from the lockdown.

Leicestershire County Council leader Nick Rushton said he would be raising the issue with the Health Secretary in a conference call today.

He said he's been heavily lobbied by residents who don't think the number of people testing positive for coronavirus merits their lockdown status.

Residents have expressed concerns in:

  • Thurmaston

  • Birstall

  • Glenfield

But he added:


Will lockdown be lifted soon?

A health official has said any decision to lift Leicester's lockdown "can't be rushed" and will depend on coronavirus rates falling to levels similar to other areas.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the country's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, was speaking to a local radio reporter in Leicester about the city's lockdown exit plan, saying rates need to be "consistently and obviously" falling.

He said data published this weekend showed the city is still “quite an outlier" compared with the rest of the country, adding: "The situation has improved but it needs to go further."

As he was pressed on whether Leicester's lockdown is likely to be lifted after a review expected next Saturday, Mr Van-Tam said: "Usually the way that one approaches them from a public health perspective is to take a phased approach."

Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor Credit: PA Images

Asked if he hoped the lockdown restrictions would be lifted soon, Sir Peter Soulsby said he “very much hoped so, yes," but cautioned restraint.


What data are health officials using to decide when to lift lockdown?

The City Mayor has called for a more detailed breakdown of the testing data so officials can find out where the virus is being passed on.

He added:

But health officials have countered the City Mayor’s concerns about the information provided. 

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: "The local authority is getting absolutely granular postcode-level data."

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock is reported to be considering closer monitoring of decisions made by the local council.


What caused this recent outbreak?

A report by Public Health England found there was no obvious single source for the outbreak in the city; no particular care home, hospital, or factory to blame, and it wasn’t linked to the reopening of schools.

But, factories in Leicester have come under the spotlight after a report by the campaign group 'Labour Behind the Label' highlighted bad practices within the industry. 

It said textile factories were potentially responsible for the outbreak, claiming firms had been forcing staff to work even if they had tested positive for the virus. 

Though, according to Public Health England, there's no proof of that.

A former worker at a factory in Leicester claims staff were exploited and forced to work in poor conditions with low pay. He left soon after the start of the pandemic due to the lack of social distancing and general safety.

In an exclusive interview, he told Rajiv Popat that the owners put profits before anything else. 

A factory in Leicester Credit: ITV Central

Though textile manufacturers in Leicester say reports that garment factories have contributed to the recent surge are hugely misleading and bad for the industry.


How has the local lockdown affected people in Leicester?

Kully Sidki, Coronavirus survivor Credit: ITV News

Kully Sidki has been recovering from Covid-19 - he spent two months in hospital, including four weeks in intensive care.

He fully supported the lockdown but said the decision became a target for racists.

Speaking at the time, he said:

It's after a Midlands study showed BAME people suffer disproportionately in the mortality rate.


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