Portsmouth council chief admits 'worry' about coronavirus lockdown in Leicester

THE city council chief has admitted his ‘worry’ following a spike of coronavirus cases in Leicester which resulted in the government asking the East Midlands city to stick to current restrictions for two more weeks.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 7:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 8:54 am

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the lockdown on Monday evening - with non-essential shops having to shut and schools being closed to most pupils.

The tightening of restrictions in Leicester will last until at least July 18 and apply to the city centre and a number of suburbs.

Mr Hancock made the announcement in the Commons after a spike in coronavirus cases in the East Midlands city occurred.

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It means the easing of the lockdown planned for the rest of England on July 4 cannot happen in Leicester because of rising cases.

Mr Hancock said: ‘Given the growing outbreak in Leicester, we cannot recommend that the easing of the national lockdown set to take place on July 4 happens in Leicester.’

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson has revealed his concern over the spike.

Posting on Twitter, he said: ‘Really worrying news from Leicester today. In Portsmouth we have been really successful at keeping down the infection rates.

Portsmouth City Council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, has defended the decision to keep Southsea seafront roads closed in order to maintain social distancing. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We are ranked 135th out of 150 top tier councils in the country, but we have to keep on staying distant from other people to beat the virus.’

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Tory leader Donna Jones said: ‘Portsmouth is working, as per the national messaging, on a second wave in the autumn.

‘If this happens the city is well placed to cope. Our death rate and infection is below that of Southampton, which in fairness is a slightly larger city. We have adequate PPE to supply our staff and we continue to support the care market across the city where required.

‘QA Hospital should be commended for the excellent way it has coped with the first wave, and this puts the hospital in a good position going into a second wave.

‘The Lib Dems, who lead the council, have had to rely heavily on expert officer advice during this pandemic as you would expect.’

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