Coronavirus testers swoop on Leicester as spike in cases could lead to first local lockdown in days

CORONAVIRUS testers swooped on Leicester today as it was feared a flare-up could see the first local lockdown imposed within days.

A surge in Leicester concerns senior government figures so much plans are in place for possible new restrictions.

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And today it was confirmed that four mobile testing units have been sent to the area to hep crack down on cases, and thousands of home test kits are available too for people to order.

The Department of Health said people in Leciester should practice social distancing and get tested immediately if they have symptoms.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are supporting the council and local partners in Leicester to help prevent further transmission of the virus.

"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.

“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.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel today confirmed the area could face a local lockdown after an outbreak.

When asked about the potential plans by Andrew Marr on the BBC, she said: "That is correct.

"We have seen flareups across the country already, just in the last three or four weeks in particular.

“There will be support going into Leicester.

“The Health Secretary (Matt Hancock) was in touch with many of us over the weekend explaining some of the measures, the support on testing, resources that are going into the local authority as well.

"Because with local flareups it is right we have a localised solution in terms of infection control, social distancing, testing and many of the tools actually within the Public Health England space that will come together to control the virus and to stop the spread so we can get on top of the infection.”

The outbreak has seen dozens of fresh cases have been admitted to the area’s hospitals.

Others were reported at a sandwich factory and a Sainsbury’s supermarket — and five schools have closed.

Officials are also worried about the city’s food production sites and multi-generational households.

It came as the death toll for Britain in the last 24 hours was 100 — the lowest Saturday figure of the lockdown.

The Midlands is on red alert as worried officials believe the Leicester cases could have a big impact on people travelling to Birmingham. There had been 658 cases in the area in the two weeks up to June 16.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned he will “take action” if there is a spike in the number of cases.

Schools, businesses and work places could be closed if there is a high rate of infection in certain areas.

 

 

A lockdown decision will be made by Public Health England, the bio-security centre and local public health directors.

Analysis is taking place ahead of pubs and restaurants opening this Saturday.

The UK’s overall Covid-19 death toll is now 43,514, the highest in Europe.

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