Coronavirus: First local lockdown imposed in Leicester as government orders schools and shops to close

Schools and non-essential shops are to close again in Leicester after the government ordered the first local lockdown against Covid-19.

Non-essential shops will close from Tuesday, while schools will close to most pupils from Thursday after a rise in coronavirus cases, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said.

Mr Hancock also said the further easing of the lockdown planned for the rest of England on 4 July will not now happen in Leicester.

And he warned that “further steps” would be taken if necessary.

Mr Hancock told MPs that while Covid-19 cases were falling nationwide, they were continuing to rise in Leicester.

Around one in 10 of all positive cases identified in England in the last week were in the city.

The measures will stay in place for at least two weeks before they will be reviewed.

The government is also working to provide ‘Covid hotels’ that could allow people struggling to isolate at home somewhere to go, Mr Hancock told MPs.

He advised people in Leicester to stay at home as much as possible while the local lockdown continues.

“Difficult but important decisions” had been taken, he said.

“We recommend to people in Leicester, stay at home as much as you can, and we recommend against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester.

“We’ll monitor closely adhering to social distancing rules and we’ll take further steps if that is what’s necessary.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticised the government, saying Leicester needed “clarity” about the lockdown and not briefings from “over-eager advisers”.

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