Coronavirus: Leicester lockdown ‘unnecessary’ if data had been known earlier, says city’s mayor | Politics News


Leicester’s mayor has criticised the government for only recently providing data that he claims could have prevented the city’s lockdown “ever being necessary”.

Sir Peter Soulsby told Sky News’ Kay Burley @ Breakfast show that he felt “angry and frustrated”.

The government is set to review added restrictions imposed on Leicester – which has witnessed the UK’s first full local coronavirus lockdown – later on Thursday.

Leicester has gone into a localised lockdown due to an spike in coronavirus cases
Image: Leicester entered a localised lockdown due to a spike in coronavirus cases

Shops and schools in Leicester have been forced to close again, while the reopening of pubs and restaurants did not take place in the city in line with the rest of England earlier this month.

Sir Peter said he did not expect to be informed of the results of the government’s review until it is publicly announced.

“It will be a political decision that will take us out, the same way it was a political decision that brought us into lockdown,” he said.

“I’m just very angry and frustrated because we’ve now, well into the lockdown, begun to get some data from the government that actually shows where the virus is and where it isn’t in the city.

“We’ve been asking for this for weeks.”

He said the data shows the infections are mostly “in perhaps some 10% of neighbourhoods of the city and the remaining 90% is very largely free of it”.

“If we had this before, we could have used it to intervene – as Blackburn and other places are using it to intervene now – with those neighbourhoods to prevent the lockdown ever being necessary.”

Sir Peter said the 10% of Leicester’s neighbourhoods where COVID-19 infections are high had been joined by a “very angry and very frustrated 90%”.