Local lockdown in Leicester 'won't be the last' in the country, Labour MP warns

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
People wearing masks to protect against coronavirus, walk in Melton Road also known as the Golden Mile in Leicester, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
People wearing masks in Leicester on Tuesday after lockdown restrictions were reimposed on the city. (AP/Rui Vieira)

A Labour MP has warned Leicester’s local coronavirus lockdown “won’t be the last” in the country.

It comes after health secretary Matt Hancock reimposed strict social distancing measures on the east Midlands city following a spike of 944 new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.

Leicester West MP Liz Kendall criticised the government over a lack of available infection data, claiming she first heard about a rise in cases in the city nearly two weeks ago.

Kendall said the government “needs to get on top of this” in time for when the next city or town faces a fresh outbreak and the prospect of lockdown.

She told the BBC News channel on Tuesday: “We heard about 11 or 12 days ago that there was an issue in Leicester.

“I think it’s taken far too long to get even very basic postcode data, which is what we need if we want to identify where the problem is, whether it’s in schools, whether it might be in certain factories or workplaces.

“We really do need to get on top of this and lessons will need to be learned from how this first local outbreak has been dealt with, because it probably won’t be the last one we see in the country.”

It comes after the Financial Times reported local leaders attempting to deal with the virus have been thwarted by a lack of timely infection data.

Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said he had been trying “for weeks” to access data on the level of testing in the city and was only given access on Thursday last week.

On Tuesday, non-essential shops were closed in Leicester, with people told to stay home as much as possible.

Schools will also close on Thursday, while the easing of restrictions in England planned for Saturday – including the reopening of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers – will not apply to Leicester.

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