04:37 GMT05 July 2020
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    As the United Kingdom - England in particular - begins to loosen lockdown measures introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, new cases are beginning to flare up in specific areas, leaving the government to consider the reimposition of lockdown measures in a localised form.

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed that the UK government is considering a local lockdown for Leicester, as new cases of coronavirus begin to spike.

    While speaking to Andrew Marr on the BBC, Ms Patel said contacts Health Secretary Matt Hancock about a potential lockdown on a local level and said "extra support" would be provided to the afflicted area.

    "With local flare-ups, it is right we have a local solution", she said.

    This comes amid a Sunday Times report that the UK government is preparing for its first localised lockdown "within days" as the new cases of coronavirus surge in Leicester.

    Matt Hancock has been looking into the legal reality of a local shutdown following 658 new cases being recorded in the Leicester area over the 2 weeks up to 16 June.

    An anonymous source close to the cabinet minister said he is “quite worried” and is considering “all options” for the government's response including a return to lockdown which would be imposed solely on the city rather than nationally.

    Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe has called on the government to reimpose full lockdown on the area due to a "perfect storm" of poverty, positive tests, high levels of ethnic diversity - as minority groups experience higher rates of coronavirus.

    The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) acknowledged on Sunday that the city was a primary concern, urging residents to remain vigilant but did not announce a return to total lockdown for the city.

    "We are supporting the council and local partners in Leicester to help prevent further transmission of the virus," the spokesman said in a statement.
    "We have deployed four mobile testing sites and made thousands of home testing kits available, to ensure anyone in the area who needs a test can get one".

    The statement said that NHS Test and Trace will contact anyone who has been confined as positive and help them identify any recent contacts and advise them to stay at home to help prevent the spread.

    DHSC urged the people of Leicester to keep practice social distancing and advised them to "wash their hands regularly" and to get tested if they have symptoms.

    Leicester's rise in coronavirus cases follows an outbreak in food production plants and large crowds gathered outside takeaway shops.

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    lockdown, Leicester, coronavirus, COVID-19
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