Leeds coronavirus lockdown fears rise as cases shoot up in the city

THERE are fears new lockdown measures could be introduced in Leeds following a spike in cases in the city.

Councillors have warned people in Leeds must make a "collective effort" to avoid being plunged back into a local lockdown.

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The city is expected to be added to Public Health England's weekly watch list as an "area of concern" after its infection rate rose to 29.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Leeds City Council has urged residents to follow social distancing rules and warned new lockdown measures could come into force if cases continue to rise.

City council leader Judith Blake said it was "a pivotal moment in our efforts to control the spread of the virus".

"Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Leeds," she said.

"The harsh reality is that if our infection rate continues to rise as it has been, we will be left with no alternative.

"With that in mind, now more than ever we need a collective effort from the people of Leeds who have shown so much resilience and civic pride throughout this crisis.

"It's up to us all to keep our families, friends and neighbours safe and to play our part in keeping Leeds's recovery going."

The council's public health director Victoria Eaton said it was "imperative we do all we can to contain the spread of this virus and protect one another at this crucial time for the city".

Other parts of West Yorkshire, as well as East Lancashire and Greater Manchester have been subject to tighter coronavirus restrictions for several weeks.

Tougher lockdown restrictions were reintroduced in Greater Manchester and other parts of northern England on July 31, following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

Anyone found flouting the rules could be fined £100 up to a maximum of £3,200 for repeat offences.

Lockdown restrictions were due to be lifted in Trafford, and in Bolton, on Wednesday.

But hours later, Health Secretary Matt Hancock performed a U-turn and said restrictions must remain in place following a spike in cases.

In the seven days to August 30, Pendle in Lancashire had 69 new cases. It is the equivalent of 74.9 per 100,000 people – the highest rate in England.

The rate in Bolton jumped from 18.8 to 69.9, with 200 new cases.

Rossendale in Lancashire was in third place, where the rate has increased from 12.6 to 65.8, with 47 new cases.

Meanwhile Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston warned the town is "on the fringe of something serious", adding: "We need to get a grip. It's beyond urgent."

His warning came as South Tyneside was identified as having one of the highest rates of infection in the country.

Council officials and fire officers have been inspecting licensed premises to check they are operating safely.

Middlesbrough itself has already been especially hard hit by the virus.

Some 167 people have died there, a rate of 118.5 for every 100,000 people.

 

 

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