Covid-19: ban on mixing households in Leeds should be announced

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legendLeeds was added to Public Health England’s list as a ‘subject of concern’ in early September

Households in Leeds should be prohibited from meeting in private homes or gardens in a bid to slow rising Covid-19 rates, the city council said.

The measure will begin at midnight and would bring the city into line with Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale rules, Council Chief Judith Blake said.

The government is expected to make the city an “intervention zone” later.

The council said on Thursday it had seen a “sharp increase” in infections in Leeds, with a rate of 98.5 per 100,000 population.

The move will impact 780,000 people who live in the city, but some exemptions are expected, including for those with family responsibilities.

“Safety first”

Residents of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale are currently strongly advised not to socialize with people outside of indoor public places.

The council said measures for Leeds must match those areas, with the national ‘rule of six’ and the 10pm venues curfew continuing in parallel.

Councilors asked the government to allow households to meet in private gardens, but that request was rejected.

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legendMeasures in Leeds are expected to reflect restrictions in neighboring areas of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale

Ms Blake said the duration of the new measures “will depend on each playing their part”.

“We are fully aware that no one wants to see further restrictions placed on life in Leeds and alongside our partners we have done absolutely everything in our power to avoid this,” she said.

“But city and public safety just needs to come first and we have now reached a point where we all need to take extra action to contain the spread of this terrible virus in our communities. “

Victoria Eaton, the city’s director of public health, said there was “widespread community transmissions throughout the city,” with self-isolation compliance still weak.

“The restrictions are expected to be in place for a longer period, potentially throughout the winter,” she said.

Rules expected for Leeds

  • Don’t meet people you don’t live with inside a house or private garden, except when you’ve formed a supportive bubble
  • Do not visit someone else’s home or garden, even if they live outside Leeds, unless they are in your supportive bubble
  • You are advised not to socialize with people you do not live with in any public place in Leeds or elsewhere
  • Examples of these include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centers, places of recreation or entertainment, tourist attractions and parks
  • Friends and family can still provide informal child care for children under 14
  • You are advised not to visit friends or family in nursing homes, except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Exceptions to the home and garden rule include visiting a dying person, to fulfill a legal obligation, for professional purposes, to provide voluntary or charitable services, for education or training purposes, to provide emergency assistance, to facilitate a move, to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person and to attend a birth at the mother’s request

Source: Leeds City Council

Analysis

By David Rhodes, BBC Yorkshire reporter

Despite repeated warnings from Leeds City Council, the number of Covid-19 cases in the city rose in September.

In the seven days leading up to September 21, a record 829 new infections were identified. This exceeds the peak of new cases during the first wave of the pandemic in late April.

While mass testing has only been available since May, the sharp rise in cases over the past month has alarmed officials – the number of new cases quadrupling in the space of three weeks.

Leeds are not alone in West Yorkshire – Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees all saw record numbers of new cases in the latest data this week.

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