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City of Leicester in UK could be locked down after rise in infections

LONDON: The English city of Leicester could face a local lockdown because of a rise in coronavirus cases, even as British Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed more support was on the way.

Reports in the Sunday Times newspaper said the government was set to reimpose strict lockdown rules on Leicester "within the next few days" after a spike of 658 new cases reported in the two weeks up to June 16.

The increases were linked to fresh outbreaks at food production plants and reports of large gatherings outside takeaway restaurants.

"There will be support going into Leicester and in fact the Health Secretary (Matt Hancock) was in touch with many of us over the weekend explaining some of the measures, the support on testing, resources that will go into the local authority as well," Ms Patel told the BBC.

Ms Patel said there had been "flare-ups across the country in recent weeks, in the last three or four weeks in particular".

"For local outbreaks, it is appropriate to have local solutions in terms of infection control, social distancing, screening and many tools," she added.

The news regarding Leicester comes at a worrying time for Britain, a country badly affected by the pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is set to easelockdown restrictions from July 4 - despite predictions of a second wave of infections - by opening pubs, restaurants and hairdressers among others.

In the last few days, Britain has seen tens of thousands of people ignore social distancing rules and flood to beaches and hold street parties, with Liverpool fans crowding the city after their football club won the Premier League.

Ms Patel said: "I think it's right that we are all conscientious about concerns of another wave. I think nothing would be more damaging for our country, for our economy if we do have a second wave."

Leading medical experts warned earlier this month of the "real risk" of a second wave of infection this winter.

More than 43,000 people in Britain have died from the coronavirus, official figures show, and the final death toll is expected to be far higher. - AFP

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