Leicester could be the first British city to enter a local containment zone after an outbreak of coronavirus there in June, Interior Minister Priti Patel confirmed as government offers special support to council .
There have been an increase of more than 600 cases in just two weeks this month in the city of East Midlands, which is home to around 340,000 people. The city had 271 deaths from Covid-19 until June 12.
Leicester could face tougher lockdown rules as early as next week if the Covid-19 situation is not brought under control, which means it could miss the mass easing scheduled for next Saturday when pubs are scheduled reopen.
The Department of Health said it had sent additional test units to Leicester to try to get the virus under control and urged residents to strictly respect social distances and wash their hands.
Interior Minister Priti Patel said this morning on BBC Andrew Marr that it was “okay” that a local lock was on the cards, adding, “With local pushes, it is just that we have a localized solution. “
She added, “We have seen outbreaks across the country in the past few weeks, in the past three or four weeks in particular.”
However, the mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, said the council was unaware of any immediate plans for an isolated foreclosure in the city and that the suggestions it had set for next week were “speculative”.
A Nottingham scientist said trying to lock the city on his own would be very difficult, as it spans neighboring villages and the boundaries of the councils can cross the middle of a street. Professor Keith Neal said, “If Leicester is locked, which part of the surrounding area do you include? A quick view of the satellite image shows this problem … a lot [people] can’t really know where they are.
It comes when one of the government’s best science advisers, Sir Jeremy Farrar, warned this morning that England was breaking its Covid-19 lock on a “cutting edge” and that the situation in the country was “very precarious “
New cases diagnosed in Britain are at their lowest level in three months, but the National Statistics Office warned this week that the rate at which the epidemic in England is decreasing has “stabilized” and it is estimated that there are still about 51,000 people infected in the community. with the virus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted that he will not hesitate to bring down the lockdown rules if the virus starts to explode again, but has already announced that pubs and cafes may reopen on Saturday, July 4, and said people would be allowed to visit friends and family in small groups without social distancing.
“Wherever there is a local epidemic, whether in Ashfield or Angelsea, we will authorize local authorities to quarantine all those affected, to test the time of infection and to make the necessary closures “The Prime Minister told the Mail on Sunday.
Concerns about Leicester come after a week that saw large numbers of people in England abandon social distancing and flock to the beaches, street parties and park raves in the scorching heat of summer. Police must have tried to disperse people from the Dorset coast, the streets of Liverpool and the parks of London amid fears that the reckless parties could spark a second wave of Covid-19.
In other news on coronaviruses:
- The Home Secretary said the “air bridges” between the UK and European holiday destinations will not be available immediately and urged people not to get carried away with holiday booking;
- One of the government’s main science advisers, Sir Jeremy Farrar, said that Britain – and England in particular – was “on the razor’s edge” as it broke free from the lockdown and expected that the cases of Covid-19 will increase in a few weeks;
- Police struggled to break up mass parties in London parks last night as thousands of young people abandoned social distancing and met on Tooting Bec and Clapham Common;
- Long periods of lockout can weaken people’s immune systems because they don’t come in contact with as many bacteria and viruses, warned a scientist;
- One in 10 British Pubs will not be able to reopen next Saturday due to the cost of implementing social distancing rules and many may never open, according to the British Institute of Innkeeping;
- Experts have warned of a “debt bubble” in the UK because the coronavirus crisis has left eight million people in need of financial assistance.
Officials say Leicester (photo) could be detained if the coronavirus crisis gets out of control in the city
Interior Minister Priti Patel said this morning on Andrew Marr: “With local pushes, it’s only fair that we have a localized solution.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said, “We are supporting Leicester’s local council and partners to help prevent further transmission of the virus.
“We have deployed four mobile test sites and made available thousands of home test kits to ensure that anyone in the area who needs a test can get one.
“NHS Test and Trace will contact anyone who tests positive to help identify recent contacts and advise someone who may have been close to an infected person to stay home to avoid spread.
“We urge the people of Leicester to continue practicing social distance, to wash their hands regularly, to be tested immediately if they have symptoms and to follow the advice they receive if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. These councils are there to protect communities and save lives. “
Interior Minister Priti Patel acknowledged on Andrew Marr this morning that Leicester was on high alert.
She said, “We have seen outbreaks across the country in the past few weeks, in the past three or four weeks in particular.
“There will be support for Leicester and in fact the Secretary of Health has been in touch with many of us over the weekend to explain some of the measures, support for testing, resources that will also go to local authorities.
“With the local outbreaks, it’s only fair that we have a localized solution in terms of infection control, social distancing, testing and many tools really in the Public Health space in England that will come together to control the virus , to stop the spread so obviously we can overcome the infection.
Concerns about the situation in Leicester come as police were forced yesterday to control traffic chaos in the county as crowds flocked to an annual horse fair in Mountsorrel.
HOW COULD LOCAL LOCKS WORK?
Local closings could be imposed on entire cities if there are regional outbreaks of coronavirus cases, Matt Hancock confirmed in May.
The Secretary of Health has said that the ability to tighten restrictions in certain regions will be part of the NHS test, follow-up and traceability system, which creates networks of people at risk around each person whose screening test for coronavirus is positive.
Local closings could result in the closure of schools, businesses or workplaces in areas of high prevalence of infection, according to the government’s roadmap on easing lockdown restrictions.
Affected areas could also be left out of measure to facilitate locking, which is applied more widely across the country.
For example, pubs are expected to reopen on July 4 and people will be allowed to mix with other households in small groups. But you could tell regions that are still experiencing a high number of cases not to change their rules.
Hancock said at a press conference in Downing Street last month: “We will have local closings in the future where there will be outbreaks and we have a system that we are putting in place with a combination of Public Health England and the new Joint Biosecurity Center, with the local directors of public health who play an absolutely crucial role in decision-making in the system, to ensure that there is a local push, there is a lock local.
The area off the A6 was overrun by heavy traffic as hundreds of travelers descended on a small field that hosted the annual horse fair.
Police were seen in the area as rows of cars blocked the roads and pedestrians crossed busy roads.
It is not known whether the event was authorized by officials, but it is currently illegal to meet outside in groups of more than six people from other households.
Data shows that more than 1,000 people have been officially diagnosed with Covid-19 since the start of the epidemic, and 271 died on June 12.
Hospitals in the Midlands region recorded the most deaths in all regions outside London, with 5,707 deaths as of yesterday, compared to 6,090 in the capital.
A local foreclosure could mean that Leicester and the smaller areas around it could be denied new privileges which should be granted to the rest of the country on Saturday July 4, which will include the reopening of pubs and restaurants.
People will also be allowed to visit the homes of family and friends where they can give up social estrangement and sleep at night for the first time since March.
But Leicester could lose if officials decide that a local lockdown is needed there.
Other restrictions could also be reintroduced, for example by telling people not to meet people outside their homes.
The mayor of Leicester, however, countered growing claims that a foreclosure is imminent.
Peter Peter Soulsby told local news site Leicestershire Live yesterday: “There is no point in speculating about doing a local lockdown. It sounds very speculative.
“We know that the number of hospital admissions is decreasing locally and fortunately, as is the number of deaths. These are the only firm data we have.
“After weeks of questions on Thursday, we [the council] has finally received information from the government that will help us know much more about the parts of the city that may have a particular transmission problem.
“We are working on this data this weekend. Until we have done that, we don’t know what interventions might be needed. “
A scientist said that trying to introduce local locks will be difficult, as borders can cross the middle of the streets and many cities stretch into the countryside where people consider themselves living elsewhere.
Professor Keith Neal, epidemiologist at the University of Nottingham, said: “One of the biggest problems is deciding who is in the lockdown and who is not. This must be understandable both to the people inside and to the people outside.
“The people inside the lock must understand why they were included. Nothing would prevent outside people from taking other voluntary precautions themselves if they were worried.
“Defining the specific area will be one of the biggest problems. Local authority boundaries can go down the middle of the street with one side in a local authority and the other across.
“The regional lockdown would be seen as unfair or worse, since Leicester City really has very little to do with rural Lincolnshire. People do not identify with their regional borders and many would not really know where they are.
“If Leicester is locked, which part of the surrounding area do you include?” A quick view of the satellite image illustrates this problem. Much of the surrounding area probably does not identify itself as part of Leicester City itself.
Midlands hospitals were the hardest hit outside London, according to NHS England data, with 5,707 deaths yesterday, compared to 6,090 in the capital.
There is also concern that Leicester may see a large number of deaths if there was a second major outbreak of Covid-19 there, due to its large population of ethnic minorities.
Scientific studies and a report from Public Health England found that blacks, Asians and members of ethnic minorities were at significantly higher risk of dying than whites.
About 14% of Leicester’s residents are of Asian origin, according to local data, which is more than three times less than 5% in England as a whole.
Other local locks could target particularly busy areas where crowds of people have gathered.
The Dorset Coast, for example – Bournemouth Beach, in particular – welcomed hundreds of thousands of tourists this week amid the scorching sun.
The regional council declared a “major incident” because the area was very busy and the police and politicians urged people to stay away from the resort.
Police also had to break up the parties and raves attended by hundreds of people in London and disperse the crowds forming in Liverpool after the city’s soccer team won the Premier League and the fans celebrated on the streets.
A local lockdown could mean that Leicester and the smaller areas around it could be denied new privileges granted to the rest of the country on Saturday July 4, which will include the reopening of pubs and restaurants (stock image)
The Interior Minister said that the growing number of uncontrolled mass rallies blatantly ignoring the rules of social distancing was “unacceptable” and added the risk of the return of Covid-19.
Patel said police will continue to stop these rallies and that “full force of the law” will fall on those convicted of assaulting emergency workers after officers were injured in the accident. clashes in London and Liverpool.
Patel, speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday program, said, “What we have seen with mass rallies and protests is unacceptable. The violence we have seen against our officers is also unacceptable.
“My message is the same – I urge people not to participate in rallies of this nature or protests, but I would also add that if people assault the police, they will feel the full force of the law. “
“It is simply unacceptable for people to come together in the awful ways that we have seen. “
She told The Andrew Marr Show that Liverpool fans “don’t need to go to the football field and gather outside the stadium” to celebrate their team’s first title in 30 years.
Patel warned that a second wave of Covid-19 would devastate the British economy, saying it could “think of nothing worse than the fact that we have another wave of this terrible disease.”
Police bosses warned the British that they had to “take on more personal responsibilities” after the number of tickets handed over in the two weeks before June 22 fell to their lowest level. Thousands of people descended on Bournemouth Beach this week
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his last daily briefing at Downing Street this week that he would not hesitate to pull the “handbrake” to help lock in if the virus started to rebound.
In an interview with The Mail last Sunday, he called on the British people to exercise restraint when pubs, restaurants and hotels open on July 4.
He warned that if the crowded scenes on the beaches during last week’s heat wave repeated, he would not hesitate to order each city to be micro-locked.
Describing the coronavirus crisis as “one of the greatest challenges this country has faced in 75 years,” Johnson said, “The government has done some things right, but most important of all was that the audience is doing it right.
“I tell these people who go out in large groups – you may think that you are immortal, that you will not suffer, but the bug that you carry can kill your family and friends.
“We want to get to a world where we are as close to normal as possible as quickly as possible. I don’t want a second lock. “
Britain “on the razor’s edge” in coronavirus crisis and could face a second severe wave in winter when people cannot distinguish Covid-19 from a cold, warns SAGE scientist
The United Kingdom is “on the brink of an edge” in its coronavirus crisis and is facing a very real threat of a second flare-up in winter, warned one of the government’s key advisers.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the London-based charity, The Wellcome Trust, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said he was “concerned” about the prospect of the virus returning.
He said he expects the number of people diagnosed with the virus to increase in the next two weeks and until July.
Next Saturday, July 4, is expected to see the biggest easing of lockout rules since March in England as pubs reopen and people are allowed to mix with other households.
Sir Jeremy said that the country is facing a “very precarious situation” and that examples are already emerging from people who flout the rules of social distancing.
Crowds were photographed last week on Bournemouth Beach, police dispersed raves and parties in London and Liverpool FC fans celebrating the Premier League team victory party on the street against the official notice.
The head of the Wellcome Trust said it would be even more difficult to control a second peak in winter when people will have trouble distinguishing Covid-19 from a cold or flu.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that people should think more about going to work when they are sick because of the risk of coronavirus.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, member of the SAGE government committee of scientists, said that England was in a “very precarious situation”.
Sir Jeremy said: “In truth, the restrictions began to be lifted in late May, early June, around this holiday.
“I predict, I suppose, that we will start to see some case increases towards the end of June or the first week of July.
“We are on the edge – the situation is very precarious – especially in England at the moment, and I anticipate that we will see an increase in new cases in the coming weeks. “
The Department of Health has diagnosed an average of 1,018 cases of Covid-19 per day in the past week, the lowest weekly average since late March.
But there are still believed to be tens of thousands of people infected with the virus – the National Statistics Office estimates around 51,000 at any one time.
The ONS warned this week that the decline in the number of people infected – which had been rapid since May – has now “stabilized”.
This means that the epidemic is not decreasing as quickly as before and that there is a risk that it will start to increase again.
MILLION MORE PEOPLE MAY DIE IN THE SECOND WORLD WAVE OF COVID-19
More than 10 million people have been infected with the coronavirus and millions of people around the world could die if there were a second wave of infections in Europe and Asia, the World Health Organization warned.
North and South America still plagued by raging Covid-19 epidemics, but much of Asia and Europe have emerged from the worst of the pandemic, according to the data .
But Dr. Ranieri Guerra, Deputy Director General for Strategic Initiatives at WHO, said that Covid-19 could follow a model similar to the Spanish flu and come back with devastating consequences.
Guerra said the 1918/19 pandemic “resumed violently” in September and October – when temperatures were cooler – after dropping in summer.
He told Rai TV in Italy: “The comparison is with the Spanish flu, which behaved exactly like Covid: it decreased in summer and resumed violently in September and October, causing 50 million deaths during the second wave. “
His warning was echoed by the director of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, who said on Friday that “of course, there could be a second severe wave if we learn something about the Spanish flu of 1918-19. “
The Spanish flu epidemic has ravaged many countries around the world, including Britain, where more than 220,000 have been killed and the United States, where 675,000 have died.
The virus first appeared in the spring of 1918, but appears to have mutated when it resurfaced in the fall, resulting in a second, more deadly wave.
It was made worse by the fact that it struck as the First World War came to an end.
“He came back roaring and was much worse,” said epidemiologist Dr. William Hanage of Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health said.
This is likely due to the fact that the lockout rules have eased significantly in the past six weeks, but it could be a sign of danger if the numbers start to rise again.
The ONS, which based its estimate on only 14 positive tests from a sample of 24,256 people, said: “Modeling the trend over time suggests that the decline in the number of people testing positive in England has stabilized in recent weeks.
“These estimates suggest that the percentage of positive tests has clearly decreased over time since our first measurement on April 26, and this downward trend has now flattened out. “
Although the rate at which the epidemic in England is contracting has slowed – which would be expected as the lock is lifted – Sir Jeremy agreed that it was “reasonable” to continue to relax the rules.
It would have been too early to do so a month ago, he said, and still urged people to be “really careful”.
He was particularly concerned that people were close to others inside, admitting that being outside was safer.
He added, “There is no zero risk in all of this. We are not at the stage where the virus has disappeared … It remains the same virus.
Learning to contain epidemics locally could avert a second national disaster like the one that hit the whole of the UK in March, he said.
Fall and winter should be a real second wave, said Sir Jeremy – he predicted it could start in October and November.
Accelerating this risk would be the fact that normal colds and flu will circulate by then, and people will find it difficult to tell the difference between these and Covid-19.
The main symptoms of Covid-19 are a new cough or fever (high temperature), as defined by the British government. The third is a changed or lost smell or taste.
All three of these symptoms can be caused by the flu and the common cold, and people may end up self-isolating with the common cold or going to work with Covid-19 amidst the confusion.
He said, “The really hard thing for all of us in September, October is when we all have a normal cough and cold and the kids go back to school and have normal respiratory infections at this time of year: do we have the ability to distinguish normal respiratory infections – flu and others – from Covid-19?
“Can we stop the chains of transmission immediately, within 48 hours, when new cases start?
“And there will be some disruption to that as people with coughs and colds get to work, go to schools, and people have to think about the consequences of that.”
“In July and August, if we do things wisely, we can prevent the national disaster that occurred in March and April.
“If we don’t – if we don’t have this basic national infrastructure in place – then we will see a very bad rebound in winter. “