Image copyright PA Media Image caption The rise of Leicester in cases drew attention in the highest circles of government
The city of Leicester may be facing a localized blockade after an increase in coronavirus cases, confirmed Interior Secretary Priti Patel.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, she said it was “correct” for the government to be considering the change, the Sunday Times reported.
The June 16 numbers showed about 25% of the city’s 2,494 cases so far recorded in the previous two weeks.
Mayor Peter Soulsby said “there was no immediate prospect” of a blockade.
Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said more data analysis is needed
Speaking at the BBC breakfast before Patel was interviewed, he said the test data was still being analyzed and “we hope that, early next week, we will be able to know if we have a problem and if we have it, where it is” .
Asked about restrictions, he said, “I don’t think it’s an immediate prospect.”
- Coronavirus: What would local blocks look like in England?
Sir Peter said he was in constant contact with the chief physician and said it would have been “much better” if the level of testing in the city had been higher.
He said: “It really is only if we know if there is a problem and where it can be, we can decide what we need to do”, if anything. “
Patel said he talked to Health Secretary Matt Hancock about a possible local blockade and said “extra support” would be directed to the area.
“With local crises, it is certain that we have a local solution,” she said.
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Priti Patel: “We are sure we have a local solution”
Leicester South’s deputy and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told the BBC’s The World This Weekend that he thought there was “no suggestion” that a blockade was about to happen.
“I received a statement from the health department yesterday and yes, we have a spike in infections in Leicester and yes, we have to respond to that with extra testing capacity and extra support for the local authority,” he said.
“But no one is proposing a local block as it appears to have been presented in some media today and Matt Hancock and I were in agreement with that.”
The director of public health for the City Council of Leicester said on June 16 that the new cases – 658 – were “relatively small” but worrying.
Local health experts confirmed that they were involved in planning next steps to combat the virus, with attention focused on the North Evington area.
The Health Department said four mobile test sites and thousands of home test kits have already been shipped to Leicester.
England Public Health said it was “concerned” about the increase in cases in the city and urged residents to follow advice on hygiene, social distance and testing.
He also said that any restriction of restrictions locally, although these measures would be eased elsewhere, would be “difficult” for the city.
Image copyright PA Media Image caption Mrs Leicester East Claudia Webbe requested a block
Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe called for a blockade due to a “perfect storm” of poverty, positive tests and greater ethnic diversity.
She said, “I don’t know why they don’t impose a blockade – the evidence suggests that there should be one.”
Tony Roe, BBC political correspondent in East Midlands
Just over a week ago, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed what he called the Covid-19 “outbreak” in Leicester. In the first half of June, 658 people tested positive. With 2,500 cases in the city since March, it is certainly a worrying statistical spike.
North Evington has been identified as an area of the city with an increase in cases – it is a community of well-compacted terraces, mixed with old industrial buildings and places of worship for many religions. It is a good representation of Leicester as a multicultural city.
A mobile center was created this week at Spinney Hill Park, so people can walk to take a test. But the board says it needs the positive test data quickly to be able to react.
He says he didn’t get the data for the first half of June until Thursday, so only this weekend was able to trace where the Covid-19 cases are.
The data also does not reveal an ethnicity, which Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby says would be vital to understand which parts of the community are being affected by the virus – he asked the secretary of health for this data.
Leicester has seen several cases of Covid-19 in the past few days.
Several schools were affected. Herrick Primary at Rushey Mead; Moat Community College in Highfields; Whitehall Primary at Rowlatts Hill; and the Humberstone Junior and Humberstone Infant gyms are closed for several days.
Business was also hit, with three people testing positive at the Sainsbury’s supermarket on Melton Road, food maker Samworth Brothers confirming a “handful” of cases at its Beaumont Leys facility and an unconfirmed number at the Pladis factory in South Wigston .
Image copyright PA Media
What would a local block look like?
By BBC Reality Check
An increase in coronavirus cases has led to fears that Leicester could face a local block.
However, it is not known exactly what that would be like.
Currently, councils don’t feel they have the power to effectively close a city in the way you might expect.
Instead, places where an outbreak occurred – such as meat processing plants – could temporarily close and workers asked to be tested and to isolate themselves.
Increased testing in an area would also likely play a role.
Earlier today, Leicester Mayor Pete Soulsby said he was analyzing data in the neighborhood to assess what “extra support” would be needed in these areas.
Do you live in Leicester? What do you think of a local block? Share your experiences by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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