More local lockdowns WILL follow as Leicester flare up is new Covid normal, Sage expert warns
MORE local lockdowns are on the way and the public should brace for further outbreaks of the coronavirus, an expert has warned.
The warning comes after Leicester was forced to extend its lockdown for a further two weeks after a rise in cases.
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Oxford University’s Professor Peter Horby this morning highlighted that the epidemic is not the same in all places.
Prof Horby who chairs the new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag) was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme if the public should brace for more local outbreaks.
"Unfortunately I think we should. We've seen the epidemic is focal, which is often the case, it's not the same in all places.
"And we saw that London unfortunately led the way in the UK and now Leicester is unfortunately leading the way and we can expect more of that, so I think there will have to be local responses to local outbreaks."
At the start of the pandemic London was one of the worst hit places in the country but case numbers in the capital have dropped off in recent weeks.
So far in the UK over 43,000 people have died from the coronavirus and the recent outbreak in Leicester has seen an uptick in cases in the area.
While the rest of England opens pubs and restaurants on Saturday, Leicester will have to wait a further two weeks for case levels to drop.
Prof Horby, who has also been advising the government, said that the fear now is that localised outbreaks could join up to create a further outbreaks on a national level.
“We have to be careful that that doesn't happen."
He said it's important that new restricitons and measures in Leicester are adhered to.
"We really can’t afford to return to what we saw earlier this year", he added.
Leicester was put into the UK's first local lockdown after a worrying spike saw Public Health England identify 2,987 cases, accounting for ten per cent of all cases in the UK.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that while non-essential travel was not being made illegal, it would if it had to.
He said: “We are recommending against all but essential travel to and from and within Leicester.
“We will take further action including putting in place laws if that’s necessary but I very much hope it won’t be.
“If further action is needed then of course we are willing to take it.”
Boris Johnson today thanked the people of Leicester for their “forbearance” in dealing with the new coronavirus restrictions – saying "we cannot be prisoners of this crisis".
The drastic move will see non-essential shops closing while schools will also have to shut.
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