LEICESTER is to move to Tier 4 of the Government’s covid alert levels after a nationwide review of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Government announced today (Wednesday 30 December) that Leicester, like much of the country, will move to Tier 4 – the category for areas with the highest levels of infection and where the most stringent restrictions are required.
The changes will take effect from Thursday 31 December.
Leicester’s infection rate per 100,000 people has been rising steadily. At the start of the month – for the seven days to 8 December - it stood at 240 per 100,000. Latest figures show that, for the seven days to 24 December, it was 305 per 100,000. Whilst the efforts we have all made in recent weeks mean that we have not seen as steep an increase here as in other parts of the country, it means infection rates are still moving in the wrong direction and the prevalence of coronavirus is the city is still high, putting increased pressure on hospital services.
Leicester’s director of public health Professor Ivan Browne said: “Although the rate of infection in Leicester has not been rising as rapidly as in other parts of the country, we have continued to see a general increase in the number of positive cases.
“At this point we don’t know the impact of any increased transmission that may have resulted from people mixing at Christmas, so our rates could go higher. I would urge everyone to follow the rules and to stay with their own household to celebrate the new year, as any further spread of the virus could have a terrible impact on our hospitals which are already stretched to the maximum, and of course on people’s lives.”
Under Tier 4 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.
You can meet only one other person from outside your household in parks or other public outdoor places, and the advice is to stay at home with members of your own household as much as possible.
All pubs, cafes and restaurants will remain closed while Leicester is in Tier 4, and museums, cinemas, theatres and hotels – with some exceptions – are amongst the facilities that must also remain closed.
Non-essential retail such as clothing and homeware stores will also be required to close, although they may continue to offer click-and-collect or delivery services.
Take-away services can continue.
Hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms and leisure centres will also be required to close. Playgrounds, public toilets and outdoor gyms will remain open.
Organised outdoor sports for under-18s will be allowed to continue, and household waste sites will remain open.
In Leicester, door-to-door coronavirus testing is available, with teams of council staff knocking on doors offering self-testing kits in specific areas of the city. With 1 in 3 people showing no symptoms of the virus, testing in this way can help to pinpoint infection so that people can isolate effectively.
A walk-in, no appointment needed rapid testing facility is also available only for people showing no symptoms, at Fosse Neighbourhood Centre. Anyone with symptoms should call 119 to arrange a test.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Lockdown measures should not be the only tool the Government uses, but in the absence of an effective, nationwide test and trace system, these restrictions seem to be necessary.
“Leicester’s rates are lower than many other parts of the country, but we certainly don’t want them to get any higher and put our hospitals under any further strain.
“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.”
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
- limit their contact with other people – only meet one person from outside your household or support bubble outdoors
- 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 Test & Trace Service must self-isolate for 10 days 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 also self-isolate for 10 days.
The latest figures for Leicester show that 1,079 people tested positive for coronavirus in the seven days to 24 December.
More information on the Tier 4 restrictions can be found on the Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae