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England’s 10 other coronavirus hotspots as Leicester first to suffer local lockdown

Leicester is being plunged into a local lockdown as coronavirus cases there surge – and a number of other areas could also be at risk if infections continue to rise.

New figures show 36 cities or counties across England are seeing a fresh rise in lab-confirmed cases, meaning infections are rising in almost one in four cities and counties.

Doncaster, second behind Leicester, is among the places that have seen a worrying spike. Derbyshire is one of the counties where cases are higher than other regions.

Leicester’s flare-up means it will not emerge from parts of lockdown as swiftly as the rest of England on July 4, when pubs, restaurants, hairdresses and other non-essential businesses will reopen.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in 36 cities or counties in England

Residents have been told to stay at home, with schools and shops to shut this week with the city being one of the country’s Covid-19 epicentres.

Public health officials are keeping an eye on Doncaster and other areas that have seen a significant increase in cases in recent weeks as England gradually emerged from its Covid-19 lockdown with the reopening of schools and easing of other restrictions.

In Leicester there was an “unusually high” incidence of coronavirus in children, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday that while work was still being done to understand why Leicester had been so badly affected by the outbreak, extra testing had found under-18s testing positive for the virus.

Doncaster reported 32 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the week up to June 26

A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre in Leicester

Lab-confirmed cases in Leicester have been rising week-on-week, from 39 between June 13-19 to 41 in the week of June 20-26.

Mr Hancock said the city’s seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000. Leicester City Council said it had seen 944 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past two weeks.

The Health Secretary said that “of course” the Government was looking at similar places but said the outbreak in Leicester was “very significantly worse” than the next worst-hit place.

These 10 areas ranked behind Leicester, which had the highest number of new lab-confirmed cases, according to the latest available data from Public Health England.

Many are urban, densely populated and ethnically diverse areas. Five are in London and two are in Kent.

Doncaster, South Yorkshire

New cases between June 13-19: 11

New cases between June 20-26: 32

Total cases: 950

Derbyshire

June 13-19: 23

June 20-26: 25

Total: 1,818

Hammersmith and Fulham, west London

June 13-19: 7

June 20-26: 18

Total: 697 

Ealing, west London

Medway, Kent

June 13-19: 10

June 20-26: 17

Total: 809 

Paramedics wear PPE while moving a patient to Doncaster Royal Infirmary earlier in the outbreak

Nurses wear PPE on a ward in Hammersmith Hospital in west London

Ealing, west London

June 13-19: 5

June 20-26: 14

Total: 1,243 

Hounslow, west London

June 13-19: 9

June 20-26: 15

Total: 785 

Thanet, Kent

June 13-19: 10

June 20-26: 14

Total: 689

People queue to have their temperatures taken at an Apple Store at Brent Cross in north-west London

Shoppers wearing protective face masks walk through the rain on Oxford Street in Westminster, London

Westminster, central London

June 13-19: 6

June 20-26: 14

Total: 703

Brent, north-west London

June 13-19: 7

June 20-26: 13

Total: 1,509

Staffordshire Moorlands

June 13-19: 8

June 20-26: 13

Total: 253 

Speaking to BBC Breakfast earlier on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said there was an “unusually high” incidence of coronavirus in children in Leicester.

He said that even though children are less likely to get ill from the disease, the decision to shut the city’s schools was made to try to halt further transmissions.

Top news stories from Mirror Online

Mr Hancock added: “We have sent in a lot of extra testing into Leicester over the last 10 days or so and one of the things we have found is that there are under-18s who have tested positive and therefore, because children can transmit the disease – even though they are highly unlikely to get ill from the disease – we think the safest thing to do is close the schools.

“The reason I said what I did last night about Leicester is that it is an unusually high incidence in children in Leicester.”

Mr Hancock also said that the lockdown had been introduced in Leicester after “targeted action” at factories and workplaces had failed.

He added: “We have been monitoring it incredibly closely, we have put in extra testing units, some of the schools in Leicester were closed already.

“We also went into some of the factories and workplaces where there was an outbreak and we put in place measures.

“These sort of much more targeted measures have worked in other outbreaks.

“So we’ve been taking this highly localised approach, but unfortunately that targeted action wasn’t working in Leicester and that’s why we have taken this much broader measure.”

When asked about possible causes such as poverty, higher ethnic diversity, language difficulties and higher-density housing, Mr Hancock said they were “familiar” to him.

A council worker disinfects a bin in Leicester city centre

A map showing where the local lockdown will be in place in Leicester

He added: “We are still doing the work to understand exactly why the outbreak has been so bad in Leicester.

“But lots of the reasons that you mentioned just then are familiar to me and people will find them intuitive.”

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said that Leicester was a “perfect storm” of a city with younger people who are less likely to comply with lockdown restrictions, a large ethnic minority population, multi-generational households and large food processing and garment industries.

The Conservative MP told BBC Radio 5 Live that the garment industry should have been in lockdown, but workers had carried on.

A shopper wears a face mask while out in Leicester on Tuesday

Soldiers set up a temporary Covid-19 testing centre in a park in Leicester

Mr Bridgen added: “What we have seen in Leicester is a perfect storm really, you have got a city which has generally got younger people living in it. We know younger people have been less likely to comply with lockdown rules.

“We have got the biggest ethnic minority population of any city, so you have multi-generational households where the young people have probably been out socialising in breach of the lockdown.

“On top of that there is quite a substantial food processing industry.

“And on top of that you have got a very large garment industry which should have locked down which my sources are telling me have worked for internet retailers who have been very busy during the lockdown and they have carried on working as well.”

But Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said that fingers should not be pointed at local people for not following guidance, or suggesting an area’s diversity was to blame.

She added: “Let’s be clear – the restrictions being re-introduced are not the fault of the local population.

“There is no evidence that their behaviour has been being ‘at odds’ with other parts of England.

“Instead, we need to ask real questions about the adequacy of the UK Government’s response to this whole crisis and whether it has, most immediately, failed the people of Leicester.

“Learning lessons now could avoid other areas experiencing the same consequences with further damage to children who have recently returned to school, and to local businesses who have reopened and now need to close again.”

Areas with a rise in coronavirus cases

The 36 authorities in England which have seen coronavirus case rises in recent weeks are, in alphabetical order:

  • Barking and Dagenham

  • Brent
  • 
Derbyshire

  • Doncaster

  • Ealing

  • Enfield

  • Gateshead

  • Gloucestershire

  • Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Haringey

  • Harrow

  • Havering

  • Hounslow

  • Isle of Wight

  • Kensington and Chelsea

  • Leicester

  • Medway

  • Milton Keynes

  • Plymouth

  • Portsmouth

  • Redbridge

  • Redcar and Cleveland

  • Richmond upon Thames

  • Sandwell

  • Slough

  • Suffolk

  • Sunderland

  • Tower Hamlets

  • Wakefield

  • Walsall

  • Wandsworth

  • Westminster

  • Wigan

  • Wiltshire

  • Windsor and Maidenhead

  • York




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