Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told MPs that he will “look at” the localised restrictions in Leicester city on Thursday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that the number of cases of the coronavirus in Leicester is “still well above” the rest of the United Kingdom ahead of this week’s review of the city’s local lockdown, the first of which in the country.
The city located in the Midlands has been subject to the first full local lockdown in the UK as part of the government’s “whack-a-mole” strategy that has been billed to deal with local outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shops and schools throughout the city of Leicester were forced to close their doors once again, while the “Super-Saturday” re-opening of pubs and restaurants did not occur in the city, with establishments in the rest of England opening for business in early July.
Matt Hancock, the nation’s Health Secretary, said that the local restrictions in the city would be reviewed later this week in at statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday.
“There is a process for whether changes can be made in Leicester,” he told MPs.
“The process is that we will look at 14 days of data – it is today 14 days since the measures were introduced.”
“We’ll look at that on Thursday of this week and make a public announcement, as soon as is reasonably possible, about whether and if any changes can be made to the situation in Leicester.
“Thankfully the numbers have been coming down in Leicester and we have put in that extra testing.”
“But the number of positive cases in Leicester is still well above the rest of the country.”
“I won’t pre-judge the decision that we’ll take on Thursday and we’ll take into account all of the data.”
“We won’t set out specific thresholds, instead we’ll look at all of the data – both the level and the rate of change – and make the appropriate decision in consultation with the local authorities.”
Mr Hancock made these comments as he was setting out the government’s plan to make the wearing of face coverings compulsory in shops and supermarkets in England from the 24th of July.
The health secretary described to MPs how sales assistants, cashiers and security guards had “suffered disproportionately” during the coronavirus crisis.
“The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher amongst men and 60% higher amongst women than in the general population,” he said.
Mr Hancock also provided an update on the government’s test and trace scheme, which has now seen 144,000 people asked to isolate themselves after being informed they were at risk of infection.
On Monday one of England’s deputy chief medical officers, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said that the data published on Saturday had shown that the city of Leicester is “really quite an outlier” compared with anywhere else in the country.
Prof Van-Tam has said that “The situation has improved but it needs to go further,” and stressed that any decision to lift the city’s lockdown “can’t be rushed”.
This comes after Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has said that that all Huawei technology is to be removed from the UK’s 5G network by 2027, and said that it would be made illegal for tech firms to buy any 5G equipment from Huawei.