Restrictions in Leicester are to continue at the highest level, after a review of the coronavirus situation in the city.
The Government announced today (Thursday 17 December) that Leicester, like much of the country, will remain in Tier 3 – the category for areas with the highest levels of infection and where the most stringent restrictions are required.
Despite Leicester’s infection rate falling from 525 per 100,000 in mid November to 256 per 100,000 in the seven days to 11 December, the prevalence of coronavirus in the city is still high – and numbers are slowly starting to rise again.
Leicester’s director of public health Professor Ivan Browne said: “There are a number of areas of concern – particularly the level of infections in people aged 60 and over, who are more likely to have a serious disease than younger people.
“We are also very concerned about the recent sharp rise in hospital admissions, which is putting our local hospitals under severe pressure.
“Sadly, despite Christmas being on the horizon, this is no time for complacency – and no one must think that the development of a vaccine means they can be less vigilant.
“Despite the relaxation measures set out by the Government, I would urge everyone to think very carefully about their Christmas plans.
“Perhaps consider postponing your family get-togethers until the spring – particularly if you have elderly or vulnerable people in your family – and find other ways to show that you care.
“No one wants the new year to start with a spike in covid cases, so it’s in all our interests to act with caution over the coming days and weeks.”
Under Tier 3 restrictions, mixing in any indoor setting with people you don’t live with – unless you are in a support bubble with them – is not permitted.
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.
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 can continue.
Non-essential shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms and leisure centres can remain open, although indoor group exercise classes are not permitted.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “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 days ahead.
“The new vaccine is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s a long way to go before all our most vulnerable people are protected. In the meantime, we need to continue to track the virus down – and we’ll be doing that by increasing our community testing in areas of the city with the highest levels of infection.
“If we offer you a test, please take it – and if you get symptoms of coronavirus, please stay at home and book a test straight away by calling 119.”
Leicester City Council News Release