Further restrictions on different households mixing are expected to be introduced in Leeds tonight to help curb a rise in cases of COVID-19 and keep people in the city safe.
The latest seven day COVID-19 rate in Leeds is 98.5 per 100,000 people, with 8.4 per cent of those tested being positive and cases showing a consistent upward trend for a number of weeks.
Following detailed discussions between Leeds City Council, the government, Public Health England and partners, Leeds is expected to be named as an area of intervention today, meaning extra measures will be put in place to control the spread of the virus within the community.
Being named an area of intervention means new rules and guidance which is specifically geared towards how COVID-19 is spreading in Leeds are due to be introduced.
These measures will mean that from midnight today [Friday, September 25]:
- People in Leeds cannot meet or host people you do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in your support bubble. A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household.
- You cannot visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of Leeds, unless they are in your support bubble.
- People can still come inside your home or garden 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.
In addition to these restrictions, people in Leeds are also being advised:
- Not to socialise with people you do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble, in any public venue either in Leeds or elsewhere. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks.
- Not to visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.
- To follow all relevant transport guidance when making a journey into, within or out of the areas affected, wear a face covering on public transport and try not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble.
Restrictions will be continually monitored and reviewed and additional measures could be brought in the coming weeks if required.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “We are acutely aware that nobody wants to see further restrictions placed on life in Leeds and alongside our partners we have been doing absolutely everything within our power to avoid that.
“But the safety of the city and the public simply has to come first and we have now reached a point where we all need to take additional steps to contain the spread of this terrible virus within our communities.
“How long these new measures last and how much further they may need go in the coming weeks and months will depend on everyone playing their part. We know there has already been some excellent partnership work taking place across the city and this will continue to manage outbreaks and help everyone stay safe.
“Building on that sense of community spirit, I’d appeal to everyone to follow these rules, consider the impact your actions could have on others and take your share of the responsibility for protecting our city.”
The new measures come after months of extensive work by agencies and partner groups across the city which has seen increased testing, community engagement and public awareness campaigns. This has also been supported by work alongside the city’s universities to prepare for the imminent arrival of students to start the new university year in Leeds.
Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health said: “Any restrictions on seeing the people close to you are incredibly difficult to take but these rules have been put in place to protect families, friends and neighbours from a virus which is spreading at a dangerously rapid rate.
“It’s vital that we all play our part in containing that spread by sticking to the latest rules and guidance and ensuring that we don’t put ourselves or each other at unnecessary risk.”
General advice continues to be:
- Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
- Keep a safe distance wherever you can
- Cover your face in enclosed spaces
- Stick to the national rule of six and try to limit contact wherever possible
- Isolate when you need to/are advised to e.g. after a holiday abroad, contact with someone with the virus, contacted by test and trace, in a bubble in education with a positive case – and draw on community support where needed.