Surge in Leicester COVID-19 cases forces city to postpone reopenings

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British health officials have been worried for several days about the rising number of cases in the East Midland’s city, which has a population of around 340,000

. Figures compiled by Public Health England showed that Leicester has had 2,987 COVID-19 cases in total since March, with 866, or 29 per cent, occurring in the last 10 days. Those figures prompted public-health officers to increase testing in the city last week with four mobile screening units focused on people who do not show any symptoms.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that in recent days the infection rate in Leicester had been three times higher than the next highest city. Mr. Hancock announced that there will be no easing of lockdown measures in Leicester as well as several surrounding communities on Saturday. And he said stores that had been allowed to open will have to close along with schools that had also reopened. The government will review these actions in two weeks, he said.

It’s not clear why the infections have spiked in the municipality. Leicester’s public-health director, Ivan Browne, said most of the new cases have been centred in the eastern part of the city and involved largely the younger working-age population. “I don’t think at the moment we’re seeing a single cause or a single smoking gun on this; so we need really try to dig down and find out what is going on, and it’s likely to be a combination of factors,” Dr. Browne told the BBC.


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