Updated government restrictions on households mixing indoors will be put in place in Leeds this week as part of a new national risk alert system aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Leeds was named in the “high” middle tier of the government’s three-tier system earlier today in response to a rise in the number of cases of the virus in households and communities across the city.
Everyone in Leeds is again being urged help protect the city, each other and the NHS by observing the updated restrictions, as well as observing the crucial messages about handwashing, face masks, social distancing and self-isolating when needed.
The latest data shows the city’s current seven-day infection rate now stands at now 415.5 cases per 100,000 people, with a seven-day positivity rate of 14 per cent. Cases have also been showing a consistent, upward trend over the past weeks leading to concerns over the potential for increased hospital admissions and the impact on local NHS services.
This rise in transmission rates has seen Leeds being classed as having a “high” alert meaning that from Wednesday, October 14:
- Households will not be able to mix indoors including in homes, leisure or hospitality venues.
- Households will be able to mix outside, including in parks, and private gardens provided they do not gather in groups of more than six.
- People can still come inside your home for specific purposes. These include where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble; to attend a birth at the mother’s request; to visit a person who is dying; to fulfil a legal obligation; for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services; for the purposes of education or training; for the purposes of childcare; to provide emergency assistance; to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm; to facilitate a house move; to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person.
- Existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents will remain exempt.
- Friends and family can also still provide informal childcare for children under 14.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We have been working very closely with our partners, local businesses and residents and listening their comments and concerns about the many different ways the pandemic and the restrictions it has brought have been affecting them.
“What has really shone through in those many conversations is that, despite the immense personal challenges each of us has faced, there remains a remarkably resilient shared will and desire to keep Leeds safe while doing everything we can to protect the city, our communities and our economy.
“None of us wants to see restrictions on life in Leeds, but we are deeply concerned that if cases continue to rise as they have been, this could not only mean further restrictions for the city, but it would also risk putting our local health services under increased and unsustainable pressure.
“Having a clearer system in place to manage local restrictions and contain the spread of this insidious virus can help us all work together more confidently, consistently and effectively in the weeks and months ahead.
“It’s now down to everyone to work and engage within this new system and each play our part in protecting ourselves, the city and the incredible health professionals who have done so much to keep us safe.
“We will also remain in constant dialogue with the government to ensure we keep people updated and informed over this key period for the city.”
Everyone in Leeds can play their part in controlling the spread of COVID-19 by observing restrictions, and following the key guidelines:
- Make space and stay 2m away from people you do not live with.
- Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
- Cover your face in enclosed spaces.
- Isolate when you need to/are advised to, and get a test if you have symptoms.
Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of public health, said: “It’s been gravely concerning for us all to see cases of COVID-19 rising in our communities and we know this year has been filled with a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety for us all.
“It is imperative that if we are to turn the tide, everyone takes their share of responsibility by following the updated restrictions.
“By doing this, we can control the spread of the virus, minimise the risk to each other and prevent the NHS from being put under increased strain over these next few crucial months.”