People in Leeds have been asked to do everything they can to help after today’s government announcement that the city will not be subject to further COVID-19 restrictions and will instead receive enhanced support towards managing the rise in infection rates.
This means that Leeds will move up one stage from being placed on the government watchlist last week as an area of concern, as the seven-day rate now stands 66 per 100,000 people with a test positivity of 6%.
Enhanced support status means that Leeds City Council and its partners will work with government on ways to bring down rates of infection, with extra national support and resources.
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “People in Leeds aren’t facing further restrictions this week but this continued rise in rates is still of great concern. I’d like to thank everyone who is taking this very worrying situation seriously, and we must remain vigilant.
“We really need everyone to pull together to help us get these rates down and stem the tide. What we all do now will make a direct impact on whether we’re able to bring this terrible virus back under control.
“It will also directly affect decisions as to whether Leeds is considered as an area that may need further restrictions later this month. If levels continue to go up as they are doing this is a real possibility.”
Victoria Eaton, Director of Public Health for Leeds, added: “I would ask everyone to remind themselves about the safety guidelines on social distancing, handwashing and meeting other people and consider whether they’re still observing them as they’re going about their daily lives.
“These might appear to be small contributions as an individual, but if we all do this it will be the single biggest thing we can do to control the rising rates. How we all manage our personal hygiene and behave around other people is the only preventative measure we currently have.”
A great deal of work has already taken place in the city across all agencies and partner groups and continues to be intensified.
In the week when the return to school took place, increased testing and additional contact tracing has led to the successful return of 96% of children to schools in the city, along with the safe return of many to work in the office.
This has been supported by increased awareness-raising and warnings about social distancing regulations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Leeds. A great deal of work is also going on to support the imminent arrival of students to start the new university year in Leeds.
Direct engagement has taken place between the council, partners and schools, businesses, universities, colleges, health partners, police, and other organisations, covering those responsible for 100,000 employees, over 125,000 schoolchildren and around 70,000 students. New students will be receiving a joint city welcome letter which will also remind them of their responsibilities around safe distancing and not hosting house parties.
The council is stepping up capacity for enforcement working closely with the police, particularly on house parties, and all businesses are urged to adopt the test and trace programme, preferably using QR codes in readiness for the expected launch of the national app’s launch.
For all current coronavirus guidelines and advice visit the government website or Leeds City Council coronavirus information pages.