LEICESTER’S lockdown was last night partially lifted with pubs, restaurants and hairdressers to reopen on Monday.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed separate households in the city are still banned from meeting indoors in line with the new lockdown for millions across Northern England.
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From August 3, restaurants, cafes, pubs and hairdressers in Leicester city can get back to business.
But leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed, the Department of Health announced.
Cinemas and museums will also reopen after the four-week local lockdown – and religious ceremonies can take place under the coronavirus lockdown easing.
Leicester residents can also go on holiday with members of their own household.
Meanwhile, the borough of Oadby and Wigston just outside of Leicester is moving completely out of local lockdown.
The shock move follows a surge of infections in European countries as fears grow Britain is just two to three weeks behind Spain’s alarming spike in cases.
In Leicester, restrictions were originally put in place by the Health Secretary on June 29 after a spike in Covid-19 infections.
Labour MP for Leicester West Liz Kendall tonight blasted the Government’s management of the local lockdown as “shambolic”.
Ms Kendall tweeted: “This has been an unbelievably difficult period for our city but peoples hard work & sacrifices have paid off.
LEICESTER LOCKDOWN RULES
City’s restrictions to be eased on Monday after a four-week local lockdown,
- Restaurants, cafes, pubs and hairdressers can reopen in Leicester City
- Cinemas and museums also set to throw open doors.
- Religious ceremonies will be able to take place
- But members of two households are still banned from meeting in private homes, gardens, pubs and restaurants.
- Leisure centres, gyms and pools will remain closed
“However, the Govt’s handling of this lockdown has been totally shambolic and lessons must be learnt for the future to prevent others going through the same.”
Mr Hancock’s shock measures came as England was hit with 846 new positive cases – the highest number in 32 days – adding to fears the country is facing a second wave of the virus.
Leicester MP Jonathan Ashworth tweeted: “Not yet seen guidance but as I understand it #LeicesterLockdown:
“Pubs, restaurants & hairdressers will reopen but not gyms, Leisure centres, swimming pools.
“But no household mixing other than bubbles. People cannot stay overnight at another house or meet in private gardens.”
From midnight, people from two households in Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendleton, Rossendale, Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale were also banned from meeting indoors.
Meanwhile, Luton will be brought back into line with the rest of the country with its leisure facilities to reopen, the Department of Health also announced.
Leicester Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby was told of the Government’s plan for the city by health officials on Thursday evening.
The measures were relaxed as clothing retailers were among those allowed to welcome back customers on July 24.
But bars, restaurants and hairdressers remained closed, with the mayor accusing the Government of taking a “sledgehammer approach”.
The Govt’s handling of this lockdown has been totally shambolic and lessons must be learnt for the future
Liz Kendall, Leicester MP
He previously claimed that data provided to city officials highlighted that only 10 per cent of Leicester had shown higher transmission rates and added he was “bitterly disappointed” by the announcement.
Speaking tonight, Mr Hancock said he was introducing the clampdown for 4.5million people with a “heavy heart” but was chilled by soaring infection rates in Northern England.
And he said the spread was “largely due to households meeting and not abiding by social distancing rules”.
Members of different households are banned from meeting indoors from midnight.
New rules for Brits with coronavirus symptoms
Brits with coronavirus symptoms must now self-isolate for ten days – three more than at present – to try to prevent a second Covid-19 wave.
It comes as government scientists say there is a “low but tangible possibility” sufferers are infectious for seven to nine days.
Officials expect only a relatively small number to be affected.
The clampdown follows a continued spike in cases in parts of Europe.
There are about 700 confirmed cases a day in the UK.
Medical scientist Peter Openshaw, of Imperial College London, said: “Keeping the infection rate low is now a top priority.”
Last night’s shock announcement came after Boris Johnson warned between ten and 30 places in Britain are seeing Covid-19 cases “bubbling up”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer branded Downing Street’s decision to break the news on Twitter late on Thursday night as a “new low for the government’s communications during this crisis.
Earlier today Conservative MP Neil O’Brien said: “Sounding positive on #leicesterlockdown – hopefully Oadby and Wigston will soon be free to start getting back to normal.”
The borough of Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire had a rate of 79.2 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to July 17.
Leicester has a rate of 77.7 per 100,000 people over the same period, according to the latest data from Public Health England (PHE).
Speaking earlier, the mayor of Leicester expressed his frustration after the Government repeatedly delayed its decision on whether to lift the city’s lockdown restrictions.
Earlier Sir Peter said: “I’m incredibly frustrated on their behalf.
“I’m particularly frustrated on behalf of the businesses in Leicester because obviously they’ve now had four weeks of extra lockdown.
“They’ve been promised extra support from the Secretary of State for Health – he’s never delivered on it.
“We’ve had a bit of a whisper that we may be getting a couple of million extra but frankly that’s not going to go anywhere across a city like Leicester.
“After lockdown for an extra four weeks, those businesses are struggling and I’m really angry on their behalf.”
In the House of Lords on Wednesday, Leicestershire’s Labour police and crime commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, highlighted a decrease in positive Covid-19 tests, saying: “The seven-day infection rate has fallen dramatically at a time when huge amounts of testing are taking place.
“It’s time to release Leicester from its chains.
“People and businesses who have followed the lockdown to the letter are entitled to their freedom.”