Leicester MP warns of ‘perfect storm’ of new coronavirus cases in the city amid reports of local lockdown

George Martin
·3-min read
Labour councillor Claudia Webbe speaks during a leadership campaign rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn at Ruach City Church in Kilburn, north London. Sunday August 21, 2016. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Labour MP Claudia Webbe said conditions in her constituency had created a 'perfect storm'. (PA)

A Leicester MP has called on the government to introduce the UK’s first local lockdown amid a “perfect storm” of new coronavirus cases.

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe called for action after 658 new cases in the Leicester area since mid-June.

She told BBC News: “I want to see a local lockdown.”

Webbe said that high poverty, more positive coronavirus tests and higher ethnic diversity in Leicester East had contributed to a “perfect storm” which was putting her constituents at risk.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking in the House of Commons, London, during the Health and Social Care Oral questions session. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Health secretary Matt Hancock is said to be mulling the legal position of a local lockdown for Leicester. (Getty)

“The Govt is drip feeding the truth,” Webbe tweeted. “A local Lockdown is on the cards for Leicester; a city where the minority make up the majority; thus a city where its residents are disproportionately at risk from #COVID19.

“Govt’s rush to ease lockdown is reckless.”

According to The Sunday Times, health secretary Matt Hancock has been looking at the legal position required to introduce a local lockdown.

Four mobile testing units have been sent to the city in the past week and health officials are said to be closely monitoring clusters of new cases linked to food processing plants.

Leicester's mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said the city has been given latest government data showing where outbreaks might be happening.

He added that lockdown measures may have to be introduced in “adversely affected” parts of the city.

A government spokesperson said they were supporting officials in Leicester in their battle against the disease.

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.

A new Covid Testing Site has been set up in Spinney Hill Park in East Leicester due to a recent spike in Covid cases in the area
Four new mobile testing centres have been sent to Leicester amid a spike in cases. (PA)

"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."

Hancock said on 27 May that local lockdowns could be used in specific areas in England if there were localised "flare-ups".

However, councils say they do not currently have the power to enforce restrictions on whole areas such as towns or cities.

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