City at a “pivotal moment” in Covid-19 battle

The leader of Leeds city council, Judith Blake has stated that the city is at a “pivotal moment” in its battle to curtail the spread of Covid-19, as the city sees its infection rate rise

Blake, who was speaking ahead of the city being added as an area of concern to Public Health England’s weekly watch list which is expected to happen later today, stated: “Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Leeds”.

Adding: “Now more than ever we need a collective effort from the people of Leeds who have shown so much resilience and civic pride throughout this crisis. It’s up to us all to keep our families, friends and neighbours safe and to play our part in keeping Leeds’s recovery going.”

The latest seven-day infection rate figures show the city has 29.4 cases per 100,000 people and saw 44 new cases identified on Wednesday.

While being added to public Health England’s watch list would not result in any further restrictions immediately, the council highlighted that it means, “increased monitoring of cases”, which could lead to further restrictions or a local lockdown if the infection rate does not fall.

Leeds has so far avoided a local lockdown, which West Yorkshire districts Bradford, Calderdale Kirklees have been experiencing since July and which may be eased later today.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of Public Health said: “It’s imperative that we do all we can to contain the spread of this virus and protect one another at this crucial time for the city. Using the latest data and intelligence, our local and national systems are working together to help us track and trace the spread of COVID-19 in Leeds as efficiently as possible.

“But we also need people to ensure they stay up-to-date with all the latest guidance, follow the rules on social distancing and face coverings and stay safe and sensible when seeing people outside their household.”

Leeds City Council and partners have recently undertaken a string of preventative steps in order to manage the rise in infections and to stay on top of community transmission, including targeted community work, mobile testing units and public awareness campaigns.