As Leicester faces two more weeks in lockdown, calls are growing for the government to take a more focused approach in dealing with the virus in the city.
The city has seen a decrease in the number of cases in the last fortnight. However data released last night shows the city’s infection rate is still as high as 100 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days leading up to July 13.
On Thursday, Matt Hancock declared Leicester must remain in lockdown except for its schools and nurseries, which will be allowed to reopen from 24 July.
However, Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has been fiercely critical of the ‘blanket’ restrictions placed on the whole city.
He believes locking down specific neighbourhoods in the city which are particularly badly-hit by Covid would be a less economically crippling way to tackle the disease.
The mayor said inner-city areas of Leicester with high levels of deprivation are the ‘most significantly’ affected by coronavirus and keeping the remaining 90 per cent of the city under lockdown is no longer justified.
Analysis of the top ten areas for new cases across England last week features five areas from the city. These are:
- Colwall, Cradley & Wellington Heath (HERTFORDSHIRE): 68
- Spinney Hill Road (LEICESTER): 51
- Belgrave South (LEICESTER): 43
- Undercliffe (BRADFORD): 24
- Belgrave North West (LEICESTER): 24
- Evington (LEICESTER): 24
- Northfields & Merrydale (LEICESTER): 23
- Kingsway: 22
- Central Braintree (ESSEX): 21
- Nelson West (BURNLEY): 20
Oadby and Wigston, which has also been included in the lockdown extension, does not feature on the list. Residents in the borough are furious and calling for it to be removed.
Liberal Democrat borough Council leader John Boyce called on Mr Hancock to reverse the decision, describing it as a ‘slap in the face of residents and calling it politically motivated.