LEICESTER is set to stay in lockdown for another two weeks despite the infection rate falling.
Matt Hancock today told MPs the Government were still looking at the region after spiralling cases forced them to hit the city with more restrictions.
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The Health Secretary was asked in the Commons when the restrictions might be lifted by Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth.
Responding, Mr Hancock said: “He asks rightly about the process needed to bring Leicester out of lockdown and bring it back to the level of freedom that’s enjoyed in the rest of the country.
“What we said when we took the measures just over a week ago is we needed to say 14 days of data.
“We propose to make announcements on the next steps on the 18th of July.
“If further measures are needed in the meantime to tighten up we would take them immediately.”
The city was he first to be placed into local lockdown in the UK after a surge in coronavirus cases over a two-week period.
While the rest of the country opened up on Saturday, the city's pubs, restaurants and hairdressers had to remain closed.
Officials asked for more time to get the disease under control in Leicester after Public Health England identified 3,216 cases since the start of the epidemic – 944 in the last two weeks.
There have been outbreaks in food production sites, clothing factories and in large multi-generational households.
About 28 per cent of Leicester’s population is of Indian heritage, and a further 21 per cent are from black or Asian backgrounds.
Language barriers, high levels of diabetes and poverty may have played a part in the new surge.
Mr Hancock explained the measures had already brought the rate of infection down.
He said: “We took last week difficult but vital decisions about Leicester.
“We have been working with Leicester and Leicestershire and I am pleased to say that together we have brought down the seven day infection rate from 135 to 117 cases per 100,000.”
Cops are now investigating clothing factories in Leicester amid fears they caused the city’s Covid-19 lockdown.
Public health officials have warned young men in the industry were significant spreaders of Covid-19.
Many fashion retailers have part of their supply chains based in the city.
The National Crime Agency has confirmed it had visited clothes factories in the city.
The move is similar to action taken in Australia, where the states of Victoria and New South Wales will close tonight for the first time in over 100 years.
Melbourne’s five million residents will now be under a strict lockdown for six weeks.
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