As large swathes of the country are seeing lockdown measures ease (think: shops re-opening, your local café doing takeaway coffees and the chance to see more loved ones), the government have stressed throughout that any lifting of restrictions will be dependent on the number of coronavirus cases declining.
Unfortunately, as we now know, for the city of Leicester this isn't to be the case (since 23 June there have been 866 positive COVID-19 cases recorded there) and it's now the first place experiencing a 'local lockdown'. But what will that actually look like for residents?
Well, while the rest England is no doubt looking forward to moving into the next phase of lockdown on 4 July, when the likes of hairdressers and pubs will be back in business, Leicester will not be enjoying the same.
The rules the city are now abiding by include:
- All non-essential shops will close from today (something that the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said will be enforced by law)
- Schools will close from Thursday and will remain shut until next term (this rule doesn't apply for vulnerable children or those who parents are critical workers)
- Citizens of Leicester are being told to only travel if it's essential and to "stay at home as much as you can"
- As mentioned before, the easing of restrictions in England on Saturday will not go ahead in Leicester. Restaurants, pubs, cinemas, hairdressers and cafés will continue to remain shut
- Plans to relax shielding measures on 6 July (which in other areas of the UK will allow the elderly and vulnerable to spend more time outdoors) will not take place in the city
It's believed that these new measures will be in place for at least a fortnight, after which the government will review them. As reported by the BBC, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also advised nearby areas, including Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield, should also abide by the restrictions.
Yesterday, the mayor of Leicester has criticised the government's handling of his city, by saying the their report is "superficial" and said "it does not provide us with the information we need if we are to remain restricted for two weeks longer than the rest of the country".
Leicester's director of public health, Ivan Browne, shared with BBC Radio 4 that he had been drilling down on the stats surrounding local cases and noticed that many of those who are unwell are of the 'younger working-age'.
"Interestingly it's very much around the younger working-age population and predominately towards the east part of our city. I don't think at the moment we're seeing a single cause or single smoking gun on this, so we really need to try to dig down and find out what is going on and it's likely to be a combination of factors. Information has been challenging all the way through this."
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