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UK's Leicester City Faces New Lockdown over COVID-19

UK's Leicester City Faces New Lockdown over COVID-19

Tuesday, 30 June, 2020 - 11:15
People stand outside a closed shop in Leicester city centre, England, Tuesday June 30, 2020. The British government has reimposed lockdown restrictions in the English city of Leicester after a spike in coronavirus infections, including the closure of shops that don't sell essential goods and schools. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Stores closed their doors Tuesday and schools prepared to send children home in the English city of Leicester, where the UK government has imposed a local lockdown to contain a spike in coronavirus cases.

The reintroduction of restrictions on the city of 330,000 people came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepared to outline an infrastructure investment plan to help the UK fix the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

Shops in Leicester selling non-essential items — most things apart from food and medicines — were ordered to shut down again starting Tuesday, two weeks after they reopened.

Meanwhile, schools, which have been gradually welcoming children back, have to send them home on Thursday and residents are being told to make only essential journeys, the Associated Press reported.

“I opened my shop last week for the first time and saw an instant increase in orders and now I worry this change will go back to no orders,” said James West, who runs a design and printing company in Thurmaston, just outside Leicester.

The UK’s official death coronavirus death toll stands at 43,659, the worst in Europe and the third-highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.

But the country's infection rate has been falling and Britain is gradually easing lockdown restrictions that were imposed in March.

Local officials accused the UK government of being too slow to act in Leicester, an industrious, multicultural city with two universities and factories making shoes, clothes and potato chips.

They said a rise in local infections had been evident for almost two weeks but the central government had not shared the data promptly with public health authorities in Leicester.

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