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Hundreds filmed at Leicester street party days before its second lockdown

Footage has emerged of a huge street party in Leicester just before the city was put back into lockdown.

The video shows around 200 people packed closely together in the Highfields area of the city on Sunday night.

They were filmed drinking and dancing into the early hours of the morning. Highfields is thought to be at the centre of the spike in coronavirus cases in the city.

It comes as Leicester has been put into a local lockdown this week after health secretary Matt Hancock announced there were more than 800 new coronavirus cases in the area in the last two weeks.

He said 10% of all positive cases across the country have been in the city and its seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000, which is three times that of the next highest area.

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Many Leicester residents claim they are ‘not surprised at all’ that they have had to go back into lockdown after the city appeared to return to ‘complete normality’.

Some told how the city was a ‘ticking time bomb’ after they observed regular breaches of social distancing rules on a ‘massive scale’.

Jacob Donald, 21, a mechanical engineering student at De Montfort University, said: ‘If you walk around the city centre you can see people acting as if it’s normal times again.

‘People have stopped following the guidelines and there’s little social distancing.

‘We’ve been hearing more parties recently in people’s gardens. There’s no way they’re from the same household unless they’re a family of 30.

‘On Narborough Road which is lined with takeaways it’s so busy in the evenings you can’t walk down staying two metres apart.’

Samuel Cave, 44, a barber, from Evington, Leicester, added: ‘Once the non-essential shops reopened, it was like the city had returned to complete normality.

‘Everywhere was rammed, people started meeting up with each other again, there were parties in parks.

‘You name it, people were doing it. It made me really angry to see and I think it was going on some time before that as well.

‘It was if the virus had simply gone away and it was a recipe for disaster.

‘This place was a ticking time bomb and I’m not surprised in the slightest we’ve gone back into lockdown.’

The second lockdown in Leicester is very similar to the first, with schools and non-essential shops closing and residents being urged to stay at home and avoid all but essential travel.

The new rules – the first to be imposed on a single British city – also apply to outer neighbourhoods such as Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield.

It also means that people who are shielding will not be able to leave their homes on July 6, and pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers in the city will not open on Saturday in line with the rest of England.

Outlining the new rules, health secretary Matt Hancock said that schools would remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

The new rules will be in place for at least two weeks and stricter social distancing rules could be put in place if people fail to comply.

But Mr Hancock added that the measures would not be kept in place ‘any longer than is necessary’.

He said: ‘Having taken clinical advice on the actions necessary and discussed them with the local team in Leicester and Leicestershire, we have made some difficult but important decisions.

‘We’ll monitor closely adhering to social distancing rules and we’ll take further steps if that is what’s necessary.

‘We do not take these decisions lightly but with the interests of the people of Leicester in our hearts.

‘Local action like this is an important tool in our armoury to deal with outbreaks while we get the country back on its feet.’

The health secretary insisted that ‘anyone’ with symptoms in Leicester ‘must come forward for a test’.

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