1st July 2020   •   article
More local lockdowns: could Bradford, Ealing, Brent or Hounslow be next?

by Barfi Culture Team | @barfi_culture.
After a lockdown in Leicester was put in place this week, health officials are warning that other parts of England could be next.

This morning, Professor Ferguson from Imperial University told the BBC: "Absolutely, it's inevitable we will [see more lockdowns]. We're relaxing lockdown rules and that means that contacts in the population are going up."

He added: "A second national wave is an agglomeration of small outbreaks like the Leicester one merged together across the country that's exactly what we want to avoid by snuffing out those small outbreaks when they are just sparks, when we're not seeing a national large increase in case numbers."

Public health officials are looking at three measures:
- how many new Coronavirus infections are being reported in an areas.
- whether the number of new infections is going up or down.
- the rate of infections per 100,000 people.

They hope local lockdowns will reduce the need for a full national lockdown.

But Leicester was a particularly standout case. The area reported 944 new Coronavirus cases in the last two weeks. Some blame garment factories staying open during the lockdown, where people were forced to work even when they were sick.

According to Public Health England, Leicester now has an infection rate of 140 per 100,000 people. The next highest is Bradford at 70.

The fact that Bradford's level of infection is half that of Leicester gives it breathing space. But that may change very soon.

Controversy over statistics

The UK government is nonetheless being criticised for not being transparent over local numbers. It is only publishing some of the numbers - which are primarily reported from hospitals ('Pillar 1'). But its not being open about infection numbers it is getting from local testing facilities ('Pillar 2'). That makes it harder for regional authorities to respond more quickly.

According to figures compiled by The Sun, these are the areas seeing the highest jump in new infections.

Keep in mind that these numbers are incomplete, and they're not the sole measure being used by scientists.

But they are seen as 'high risk' areas. If their rate of infection keeps going up they could be under lockdown next.
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