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Iran Press TV

Leicester poses serious challenge to Johnson's lockdown exit model

Iran Press TV

Monday, 29 June 2020 5:37 PM

Boris Johnson's plan to celebrate an England-wide lockdown exit early next month has been thrown into disarray following reports that the city of Leicester may have to stay in lockdown for an additional two weeks.

According to the city's mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, the government has "recommended" that current restrictions are maintained "for a further fortnight".

Talking to BBC Radio 4 Today's program, Soulsby complained that his city could "remain restricted for two weeks longer than the rest of the country".

In a separate interview to Sky News, Soulsby claimed he had received a government report "by email" just after 1am outlining the suggestions which the mayor described as "unjustified" and of being "hastily cobbled together".

Soulsby says the instructions in the report had left him "angry and frustrated" especially as a planned meeting between him, the city council's director of public health and Whitehall officials to discuss a "local surge" of coronavirus infections had been postponed.

The report – which was prepared by Public Health England (PHE) – recommends delaying "relaxation actions in Leicester and enhancement of monitoring of social distancing guidelines for at least two weeks".

Despite his gut instincts, and his desire to end the lockdown at a national level on July 04, the PM has apparently lent his approval to the PHE recommendations by claiming that the PHE and local authorities have the power to impose local lockdowns to suppress the resurgence of the coronavirus.

The PHE's call for corrective action comes in the wake of a reported surge of COVID-19 cases in Leicester.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in the UK in late February there have been 2,987 positive cases in Leicester, with 866 cases reported in the two weeks to June 23 alone.

Situated in the East Midlands, Leicester is home to nearly 330, 000 people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and as such it is considered to be one of the most multicultural cities in England.

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