LEICESTER Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has expressed his “frustration” at his city being subjected to the country’s first localised lockdown and demanded to know why the Government didn’t “intervene” earlier.
Leicester is seeing schools and non-essential stores close once again because of a spike in coronavirus cases just as the economy is set to open up further across the rest of the UK. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed the law will even be changed to enforce restrictions. The city’s mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, complained to talkRADIO there had been a lack of information surrounding the Government’s decision.
When asked if the Leicester locals will be feeling angry, he said: “I think there’ll be quite a lot of frustration.
“People, like me, will be asking a lot of questions of the Government’s decision.
“They’ll be saying, ‘well, if this is necessary, why didn’t you tell us earlier?’
“‘Why didn’t you get on to it earlier when you suspected there was an issue here?'”
Sir Peter continued: “That would have been the time to intervene.
“But we are where we are.
“I think, overwhelmingly, Leicester people will recognise that taking the very firm measures now being taken are in our best interests long term.
“Because, obviously, the firmer we are now, the sooner we’ll get out of this.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted he was “concerned” by the rising figures in the East Midlands city.
Leicester has recorded 866 new cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks.
Mr Hancock officially announced the implementation in the House of Commons at the start of the week.
The Health Secretary said: “We cannot recommend that the easing of the national lockdown set to take place on July 4 happens in Leicester.
“Having taken clinical advice on the actions necessary and discussed them with the local team in Leicestershire we have made some difficult but important decisions.
“We have decided that from tomorrow none essential retail will have to close.
“As children have been particularly impacted by this outbreak, schools will also need to close from Thursday, staying open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers as they did throughout.”
“Unfortunately, the clinical advice is that the relaxation of shielding measures due on July 6 cannot take place in Leicester. We recommend to people in Leicester stay at home as much as you can.”