Leicester has become the first city in the UK to be placed under a local blockade as the government seeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases in the city.
Health Minister Matt Hancock said the limitations of everyday life would be tightened for those from the East Midlands city and its environs.
What are the locking rules in Leicester?
- All non-essential stores are closing from Tuesday, which Mr. Hancock said will be enforced by law this week.
- Schools will close from Thursday and will not reopen until the next term. However, they will remain open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers
- People should avoid all travel except inside Leicester except the necessary ones, and “stay home as long as you can”
- The planned easing of some restrictions on Saturday in England will not go forward in Leicester. This means that restaurants, pubs, cafes, hairdressers and cinemas will remain closed
- The relaxation of protection measures on July 6 – which will allow the most vulnerable to spend more time outside – will not go forward in the city
Where does it apply?
In addition to downtown, suburbs of Leicester, such as Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield, will be affected by tougher measures.
However, a detailed map of the lock area is not currently published.
The Leicestershire County Council has announced the approximate boundary of the area and said it is working to “check zip codes” for those unsure if they will be affected.
Why aren’t schools closing now?
Additional tests in Leicester in the last 10 days showed that there is an “unusually high” number of positive results in the city, the health secretary said on Tuesday at BBC Breakfast.
He said children were “very low risk” of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19, but that schools would close in Leicester to reduce virus transmission.
Schools in the city will remain open until Thursday, Mr. Hancock, to allow parents to arrange childcare and to inform people to prevent them from “gathering in front of the school door and trying to determine what happened.”
How long will it take?
The government will reconsider whether it can lift any of the measures in two weeks, the health secretary said.
Where does it apply?
Mr Hancock said the measures would apply not only to the city of Leicester but also to “surrounding construction including for example Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield”.
He said the exact details of which wards in Leicestershire would be included in the new locking measures would be released “immediately”.
Leicestershire County Council said it was working on details of that with England’s public health.