From today Wednesday (2 December), Leicester will join other areas of the country in Tier 3 – the category for areas with the highest levels of infection and where the most stringent restrictions are in place.
Despite Leicester’s infection rate falling from 530 per 100,000 in mid November to 415 per 100,000 in the seven days to 20 November, the prevalence of coronavirus in the city is still high – and Leicester’s Tier 3 status was therefore largely expected.
“Although Leicester’s figures are slowly moving in the right direction, the infection rate here is still far too high,” said Leicester’s director of public health, Professor Ivan Browne.
“Overall numbers are coming down, but we remain very concerned about the infection rate in Leicester – particularly the level of infections in people aged 60 and over, who are more likely to have a serious disease than younger people.
“This is no time for complacency – and no one must think that the development of a vaccine means they can be less vigilant.
“I’d like to thank all of those who have respected these restrictions for so long, but we simply have to continue to follow the rules, if we are to succeed in reducing the spread of this highly contagious virus over the winter months.”
Under the new restrictions, people in Leicester will no longer be able to meet up with other households in a private garden.
Meetings in parks or other public outdoor places are permitted, as long as no more than six people are present and social distancing is observed.
But mixing in any indoor setting with people you don’t live with – unless you are in a support bubble with them – is still not permitted.
People can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, but all pubs, cafes and restaurants will remain closed while Leicester is in Tier 3, and museums, cinemas, theatres and hotels – with some exceptions – are amongst the facilities that must also remain closed.
Take-away services, however, can continue.
Non-essential shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms and leisure centres are amongst the facilities that can re-open from Wednesday (2 December), although indoor group exercise classes will not be permitted.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “While Tier 3 was sadly inevitable, we have been hampered in driving the figures down by the time it takes NHS Test & Trace to pass us the names of those they’ve been unable to contact.
“We’re also still waiting for all the kit we need to start rolling out the new, quicker, lateral flow testing programme.
“But we’re making progress and our numbers are now heading in the right direction.
“People in Leicester have lived with these restrictions for so long, and I thank them for it, but I would urge everyone in the city to stay strong and keep going during the difficult weeks ahead.
“The Government has said that it will review Leicester’s position on 16 December, so if we are able to get the rate down in the next fortnight, we could move out of Tier 3 before Christmas – and that would be good news for all of us.”
As the prevalence of coronavirus in Leicester remains high, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to take extra care.
Everyone in Leicester should continue to:
wear a face covering when required
wash or sanitise their hands frequently
follow social distancing rules
work from home, if possible
refrain from visiting anyone else’s home or garden, unless they’re in a support bubble with them
walk or cycle if possible – and avoid travelling on buses at peak times if possible
follow the Rule of Six
limit their contact with other people
stay at home and get a test at the first sign of coronavirus by calling 119
Since 28 September, anyone who receives a positive Covid-19 test or is told to self-isolate by the NHS Test & Trace Service must self-isolate by law, with anyone failing to self-isolate when they are required to do so facing a fine of between £1,000 and £10,000.
A support payment of £500 can be claimed by employed or self-employed people on low incomes who are told to self-isolate, but whose income would be hit by staying at home.
Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus, or who has symptoms, must self-isolate for 10 days, while anyone living in the same household must self-isolate for 14 days.
The latest figures for Leicester show that 1,469 people tested positive for coronavirus in the seven days to 20 November.
The rate of infection per 100,000 in Leicester now stands at 415 (seven days to 20 November). This compares with the national rate of infection of 218 per 100,000.
More information on the Tier 3 restrictions can be found on the Government’s website at www.gov.uk
Leicester City Council news release