There will be ‘no alternative’ to introducing further lockdown restrictions in Leeds if coronavirus cases continue to rise, council leaders have warned.
The northern city is expected to be added to Public Health England’s weekly watch list of areas of concern after its seven-day infection rate increased to 29.4 cases per 100,000 people.
No restrictions will be immediately brought in – but the situation is to be closely monitored and it has been named ‘a crucial time for the city’.
Council leader and chair of the outbreak control board, Judith Blake, said: ‘This is a pivotal moment in our efforts to control the spread of the virus in Leeds and to keep our city open.
‘Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Leeds and we want to assure everyone that we’re doing absolutely everything within our power to avoid that happening.
‘But the harsh reality is that if our infection rate continues to rise as it has been, we will be left with no alternative.
‘With that in mind, now more than ever we need a collective effort from the people of Leeds who have shown so much resilience and civic pride throughout this crisis.
‘It’s up to us all to keep our families, friends and neighbours safe and to play our part in keeping Leeds’s recovery going.’
Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of public health, added: ‘It’s imperative that we do all we can to contain the spread of this virus and protect one another at this crucial time for the city.’
The council has reminded people to isolate if anyone in their household is showing Covid-19 symptoms, to keep social distancing, to wear a face covering and to wash hands regularly.
It comes after it was revealed a local lockdown could be imminent in Dacorum after cases numbers soared – specifically in the town of Hemel Hempstead.
An uncontained outbreak among young people who have been to pubs and cafes in Tring and Berkhamstead is of particular concern, public health Cllr Tim Hutchings said.
Meanwhile, the Government was forced into a last-minute U-turn with restrictions in Bolton and Trafford earlier in the week.
The two areas were due to be released on Wednesday from measures banning different households from meeting indoors or in gardens, along with Stockport, Burnley, Hyndburn and parts of Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.
However, Matt Hancock said the easing had been delayed ‘following a significant change in the level of infection rates over the last few days’.
A ban on visiting other households has also been reimposed on Glasgow after a sharp rise in infections.
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