Any vehicles leaving the Leicester area will be stopped by police to help contain the further spread of coronavirus, it has been claimed.
The Times understands officers in Leicestershire and nearby Nottinghamshire have been given the greenlight to prevent unessential travel out of the city – the UK’s first to see a local lockdown imposed.
Cars, minibuses and coaches will all be turned around if deemed necessary, while patrols in public areas such as parks are to be upped to help enforce new guidelines.
Flouters sneaking into the neighbouring county for nights out – as pubs re-open this Saturday – could be slapped with £100 fines.
Craig Guildford, chief constable of Nottingham’s British Transport Police said: “We are not anticipating a rise [in travel] of people from Leicester.
“You are still allowed to travel to get to work, but they will be looking for a breach of the guidance such as going shopping or going on a night out.”
The Times reports blanket roadblocks were considered “impractical and too resource intensive”.
However, Lord Bach, Leicestershire’s police and crime commissioner has criticised the Government for failing to quickly provide full guidance with the lockdown coming into force on Tuesday.
It comes as Boris Johnson is to face a fresh grilling over Downing Street’s handling of the pandemic, particularly in regards to the confusion surrounding Leicester.
One hundred days after restrictions came into force across the country, ministers are facing questions over whether they were too slow to act following a flare up in the east Midlands city.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – who faces Mr Johnson in the Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions – has said people in Leicester were “crying out” for answers and suggested the Government should have moved quicker.
Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby criticised the Government and Public Health England (PHE) for delays in sharing case and testing data which showed how the disease was spreading.
Mr Johnson has paid tribute to the people in the city for their “forbearance” in accepting the return of controls including the shutting of non-essential shops and the closure of schools to most children.
There was frustration, however, among businesses at having to turn away customers just as the rest of England was preparing for a further opening up with the return of pubs, restaurants and cinemas on Saturday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government had no choice but to impose a city-wide lockdown after a series of targeted measures – including working with factories which had seen a spike in cases – failed to halt the spread.
“It was clear that we needed to take this further action,” he said following talks in Whitehall on Tuesday.
“I understand that people in Leicester have difficulties – especially when the rest of the country is having lockdown measures lifted – that they are going to be asked to stay at home for that much longer.
“But it is profoundly in the interests of people in Leicester and across the country that we get this virus under control.”