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Leicester’s local coronavirus lockdown is to be partially relaxed, the government has confirmed.
Matt Hancock told reporters on Thursday evening that “some, but not all” restrictions in the city would be relaxed, as virus rates “still remain well above the national average and the average for surrounding areas”.
From July 24, restrictions on schools and early years education will lift, and some non-essential retail will be able to reopen. However, authorities in Leicester will be given localised powers to close shops where necessary.
Restrictions on travel and social gatherings of more than six people will remain in place, while the hospitality sector – which began to reopen in England on July 4 – will remain closed in Leicester.
Leicester became the first place in the country to have tight restrictions reimposed on June 30 following a rise in coronavirus infections.
Hancock said: “The latest data shows that the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is now 119 cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of people testing positive is now at 4.8%.
“These are positive indicators, especially in light of the huge increase in testing.”
He compared the figures to when the lockdown was imposed and the seven-day infection rate was 135 and 10% of tests were positive.
He added: “I committed to reviewing the measures in Leicester every two weeks. This morning I chaired a gold meeting of the local action committee to discuss the latest situation and this afternoon I held a further meeting with local leaders, Public Health England, the JBC, the local resilience forum and my clinical advisers.”
The seven-day infection rate was 143.6 in the week leading up to June 28, just before the local lockdown was imposed.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby claimed the local coronavirus outbreak was being dramatically...