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Labour Demands Matt Hancock Hold No.10 Press Conference To Explain Leicester Lockdown

By Ned Simons

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Labour has demanded Matt Hancock host a press conference in Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon after the government imposed a local lockdown on Leicester.

Boris Johnson ended the daily coronavirus briefings last week, but said they would return when the government had “something really important to say”.

Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said the decision to lockdown a single city, the first time such a move has been made, “meets that criteria”.

“People in Leicester— and across the country — are looking for ministers to take responsibility for this issue,” he said.

“I am urging the health secretary to hold a press conference this afternoon and give the public the answers and reassurance they deserve.”

Labour has backed the government’s decision to re-introduce restrictions in Leicester but Ashworth, who is an MP for the city, warned there was “confusion” about the new rules.

Hancock gave interviews to TV and radio this morning, but has not committed to holding a briefing.

Led by ministers including Johnson and Hancock, the daily No.10 briefings became a regular fixture in the UK’s response to the pandemic.

The politicians were usually joined by government experts including chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

Members of the public were allowed daily questions as well as journalists.

Labour’s demand came as Johnson delivered a speech in Dudley on the economy.

Some media outlets, including the PA Media news agency and HuffPost UK, were not invited to attend.

Under the new lockdown measures, non-essential shops will close in Leicester while schools will close to most pupils from Thursday.

People are also being told to avoid all but essential travel to, from, and within Leicester, and should stay at home as much as possible.

The planned opening of restaurants, pubs, cafes, hairdressers and cinemas across England from Saturday will also not happen in the city.

Nor will the relaxation of shielding measures from next week go ahead for people there.

Hancock said this morning Leicester had seen 10% of all positive cases in England over the past week, while Leicester’s seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 – three times that of the next highest city.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/leicester-lockdown-matt-hancock-press-conference_uk_5efb0cb4c5b612083c52841f