Leicester became the first city in Britain to be closed in a local block after public health officials expressed concern about the alarming increase in the city in Covid-19 cases.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday evening, health secretary Matt Hancock announced that from Tuesday June 30th non-essential stores in the city will be forced to close and, starting on Thursday July 2nd, schools will be closed to everyone except most vulnerable children, as well as the children of key workers.
Residents were advised to “stay home as long as possible”, while members of the public outside the city were told to avoid any non-essential travel to the region.
The blockade, which was signed by Boris Johnson, was a difficult decision to make, the Secretary of Health said.
He said to Parliament: “I know this is a worrying time for people living in Leicester and I want you to know that you have our full support.”
“We do not take these decisions lightly but with the interests of the people of Leicester in our hearts.”
Why was Leicester chosen for a local block?
In recent weeks, Leicester health officials have reported an increasing number of infections within the city.
For example, in the two weeks prior to June 23, the Leicester City Council reported 944 positive coronavirus tests.
In Monday’s announcement, Matt Hancock revealed that the city’s seven-day infection rate was “three times higher than the next highest city,” while last week the city accounted for 10% of all Covid- positive cases. 19 across the country.
The health secretary said that targeted action in hot spots such as schools and workplaces failed to reduce the number of infections and that “wider measures” such as a localized blockade were therefore required.
What areas are included in the Leicester block?
In Monday’s announcement, Mr. Hancock said the blockade would affect the city of Leicester and “the surrounding suburbs, including Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield”.
On Tuesday 30 June the official map of the block’s borders was released with areas such as Birstall, Beaumont Leys, Glenfield and South Wigston all included.