Schools and non-essential shops are due to reopen in parts of Leicester which were put back into lockdown after a rise in coronavirus cases – but the NHS Test and Trace chief has warned the area is not “completely out of the woods”.
On Friday, some measures will be eased in Leicester City but bars, restaurants and hairdressers will remain closed.
Baroness Harding, who is in charge of NHS Test and Trace, said while it was an “encouraging sign” that the infection rate in Leicester is beginning to fall “it’s still very high”.
I don’t think that Leicester is completely out of the woods yet and it’s really important that anyone living in Leicester comes forward for a testBaroness Harding
She told the BBC: “One of the challenges with Covid is that it takes 14 days from the time we have taken action to be really confident that that action is making a difference.
“The encouraging sign in Leicester is that the infection rate is starting to go down but it’s still very high.
She said there are particular concerns about coronavirus spreading in South Asian communities in England.
Ms Harding reiterated the advice for everyone to maintain good hand hygiene and socially distance.
If you have symptoms of #coronavirus, or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has, please get tested as soon as you can.— Leicester City Council (@Leicester_News) July 23, 2020
Book your test online at https://t.co/GZTt3rsjdL or call 119. pic.twitter.com/3Xj31217wy
In Blaby and Charnwood, non-essential shops, bars, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to reopen on July 18, while schools and educational settings could reopen from July 20.
Shielding must continue in all areas, the Government said, and the next review is due to take place by August 1.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that councils across England would be given powers to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces, and cancel events where necessary, in a move welcomed by the Local Government Association as one that would help prevent local lockdowns.
Leicester’s mayor Peter Soulsby has been critical of the UK Government, saying it took a “sledgehammer approach” to the city’s lockdown – imposed from July 4 – and that data provided to city officials highlighted only 10% of Leicester had shown higher transmission rates.