‘Stop pussyfooting around!’ Leicester authorities urged to get a grip amid lockdown chaos

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Leicester became the first in the UK to face a city-wide lockdown on Monday this week, following a rapid surge in coronavirus cases. Experts have tied the resurgence of coronavirus cases to the city’s large BAME communities and “multi-occupancy, multi-generational living,” amid fears that more localised lockdowns could be imposed. At the time of its lockdown, Leicester had a rate of infection three times higher than the city with the second highest number of infections.

Speaking on Politics England, Pamela Campbell-Morris, who works at the centre of BME health in the city, urged local authorities to do more.

The BBC host said: “There is a close-knit community in Leicester. There are many people living in shared accommodation. Has that been a problem?”

Ms Campbell-Morris responded: “Leicester is one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the UK and what we know is that COVID-19 has exposed a lot of health inequalities that needs to be addressed.

“This week has raised a lot of emotions in Leicester. We are the first city on lockdown and there is a lot of fear.”

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She added: “There is also a lot of disappointment because people believe they have done what they were told to.

“They adhered to the guidelines yet here we are again.

“For people to do the right thing let’s get it right! The Government and local authorities, they need to get the message right.

“If they don’t get the message right, people will pick up on fake news ad fake news comes across so powerful.

“Local Government and authorities need to stop pussyfooting around. Stop the ego. Work together. And get the message straight and direct to people.

“I heard a lot of funding is going to the NHS and local authority but I’m waiting to hear, when are we going to put money into local communities to address early intervention and prevention so people can do things for themselves.”

Zuffar Haq, a local health campaigner in Leicester, also told the BBC that pinning the blame on BAME communities was “unfair”.

He said: “I think if you started testing people up and down the country there would be a lot of cases. Leicester has tipped that balance and that is why it has been highlighted.”


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Analysis has found South Asian people are the most likely to die from COVID-19 after being admitted to hospital.

About 28 percent of Leicester’s population is of Indian heritage, and a further 21 percent are from black or Asian backgrounds.

Prof John Wright, an Yorkshire-based epidemiologist, said cities with similar demographics must be on “constant alert” for new outbreaks.

He named Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield as places most at risk.

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