‘Leicester lepers’ are BANNED from holiday parks, campsites and hotels as bosses in nearest seaside resort Skegness ask people from Covid-hit city to stay at home
- Several tourist destinations said they would turn away visitors from Leicester
- The move has sparked concerns among Leicester residents of a ‘leper’ effect
- Holiday parks in Skegness and St Austell are among locations banning visitors
Concerns of a ‘leper’ effect have emerged today after tourist destinations said they would turn away visitors from Leicester.
Pentewan Sands holiday park near St Austell, Cornwall, said on Facebook it was no longer open to visitors from the East Midlands city.
There have also been concerns in destinations near Leicester, with health officials in Skegness saying they are worried about the prospect of visitors ‘travelling from an area with a higher rate of infection than ours’.
Local child-protection worker, Tracy Jebbet (pictured with her family), revealed her upcoming holiday to Cornwall had just been cancelled
Pentewan Sands holiday park near St Austell, Cornwall, said on Facebook it was no longer open to visitors from the East Midlands city
While the rest of Britain will see pubs, hotels and campsites reopening this weekend, Leicester has been told to go the other way. Schools must close, along with non-essential shops and people are being told to stay at home.
Many residents say they now find themselves branded as outcasts.
‘We’re like the Leicester lepers,’ local child-protection worker, Tracy Jebbet, told Radio Leicester as she revealed her upcoming holiday to Cornwall had just been cancelled.
The management of her St Austell campsite – Pentewan Sands – have announced a ban on all bookings from Leicester and have told her she cannot go.
Ms Jebbet, from West Knighton, said her had been due to travel on 11 July but now do not know when they will be able to re-book.
The 50-year-old told the BBC: ‘We have not had an email from the park and can’t get hold of them.
‘I understand it’s for the safety of the people camping there and the staff, but we have adhered to the lockdown guidelines 110% and feel we are being penalised,’ she said.
‘We are regulars there and had been looking forward to it, but I felt like a bit of a Leicester leper when I saw the post.’
In a Facebook post, Pentewan Sands holiday park wrote: ‘Following the government announcement last night that Leicester city and some surrounding areas will be returning to stricter lockdown rules, we regret that we will not be able to welcome any guests from these affected areas until the lockdown is lifted.
‘We realise that this will be disappointing news and that these areas may be updated throughout the course of the day.’
As Leicester remains under stringent new lockdown measures today, it has also emerged:
- A report found a recent rise in coronavirus cases in Leicester and the growing number of people found carrying the virus could partly be due to a ‘growth in availability of testing’ in the city’;
- Fashion chain Boohoo defended its supply chain practices after a garment workers’ rights group said the online fashion retailer was putting workers at risk of coronavirus infection in its Leicester factories;
- Academics and clinicians from the University of Leicester said reimposing lockdown represents a ‘failure of timely intervention’;
- Drinkers will be asked to prove they are not from Leicester when the nation’s pubs reopen on Saturday;
- Measures will not be lifted in Leicester on July 4 and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer warned that ‘there are now real fears of further local lockdowns across the country’.
A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Hill Park in Leicester
Pictured: The lockdown zone in Leicester, which has left some Britons in lockdown while their neighbours are not
Data shows how Leicester’s coronavirus outbreak has grown over time. The numbers compiled for England only include pillar one swab tests, which officials say are only given to patients with a medical need or key workers
Public Health England say increase in tests may be behind part of the increase that was not caused by any specific outbreak
A report today found a recent rise in coronavirus cases in Leicester and the growing number of people found carrying the virus could partly be due to a ‘growth in availability of testing’ in the city’.
The report reveals that about half of all cases were among Asian or British Asian people living in Leicester, and focussed in the east of the city, where BAME communities make up two-thirds of the local population.
The PHE report found an increase in the number of people aged under 19 who had been infected in the East Midlands city, from 5 per cent of all cases in mid-May to 15 per cent in June, and a similar increase in infections among working-age people.
The report said the increase in positive tests is ‘probably linked, in part, to the availability of testing to the general public’.
The NHS set up another temporary coronavirus testing centre in the north east of Leicester – the epicentre of the city’s Covid-19 outbreak – taking the total to five in the city.
Experts have said that increased testing could be responsible for the rise in cases – but not entirely responsible.
Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at UEA in Norwich, said: ‘It is possible – though in my view unlikely – that, as raised in the conclusions, the increase reflects increased uptake of pillar 2 testing’.
The report concluded evidence for the scale of the outbreak was limited, but added the proportion of positives from PCR testing – the national standard for identifying new coronavirus cases – is rising.
The preliminary investigation report – released on Wednesday evening – suggested the infection rate in the city had fallen from 140.2 to 135.7 per 100,000 people in the from the week to June 20 to the seven days prior to June 27.
This is still significantly higher than the overall infection rate in England which fell over the same period from 10.7 to 6.7 per 100,000 – despite the easing of some lockdown restrictions.
It adds customers can transfer their holiday or request a refund.
Hendra holiday park, in Newquay, also wrote on Facebook: ‘We will sadly not be able to welcome guests from these affected postcodes [in Leicester] until this lockdown is lifted.’
Tony McGinty, assistant director of Public Health Lincolnshire, said Skegness – as the closest holiday resort to Leicester, could still see tourists arrive but was ‘concerned’ about the arrival of tourists from the area.
This comes as a report today found a recent rise in coronavirus cases in Leicester and the growing number of people found carrying the virus could partly be due to a ‘growth in availability of testing’ in the city’.
Public Health England’s investigation also found ‘no explanatory outbreaks in care homes, hospital settings, or industrial processes’ after the rise in infections led to the UK’s first local lockdown.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tightened restrictions across Leicester and nearby suburbs on Monday, ordering non-essential shops to close and urging people not to travel in or out of the area.
The NHS set up another temporary coronavirus testing centre in the north east of Leicester – the epicentre of the city’s Covid-19 outbreak – taking the total to five in the city.
Britain’s fast fashion chain Boohoo also today defended its supply chain practices after a garment workers’ rights group said the online fashion retailer was putting workers at risk of coronavirus infection in its Leicester factories.
Labour Behind the Label, which campaigns for workers’ right, said in a report it received reports of ‘workers being forced to come into work while sick with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, academics and clinicians from the University of Leicester said reimposing lockdown represents a ‘failure of timely intervention’.
In a letter to The Lancet medical journal, the group of academics and clinicians wrote that the spike of regional infections had exposed ‘key problems’ that need to be ‘urgently addressed’.
But the letter’s signatories report that news of the city’s outbreak came as a surprise to local health organisations, who were only able to access ‘pillar 1’ data at that time.
Pillar 1 data – tests carried out in NHS and PHE laboratories – found that the number of new cases per day was low throughout the first half of June, according to the authors.
The academics and clinicians wrote that information through pillar 2, testing of the wider community, indicated an ongoing spike but was ‘not communicated in a timely manner’ to local authority and health organisations.
The correspondence raises concerns that an area-specific lockdown will ‘target and disproportionately affect ethnic minority communities’, adding that adherence to any proposed measures requires effective community engagement.
The letter, signed by seven academics and clinicians from the university, calls for a coordinated public health response that is ‘locally led, agile, and responsive to prevent unnecessary morbidity and mortality’.
Roadblocks could be imposed to enforce the country’s first local lockdown as police said they were considering ‘all options’ in Leicester as cases continued to rise in the city.
Yesterday, the Walkers crisps firm confirmed that 28 of its workers had tested positive for Covid-19 at its Leicester factory, which employs more than 1,400.
But the manufacturer denied the rise in cases in the city was sparked by the factory outbreak and said some staff who had tested positive had already returned to work.
Members of the 7th regiment are running the Levington leisure centre covid-19 testing facility in Leicester as a Public Health England report said that the increase in cases in the city could be due to increased testing generally
Around half of the positive cases were among the Asian and British Asian communities in Leicester
The statistics reveal that the vast majority of cases are among the working population of 18 to 65 years old
Most of the test results were pillar 2 positives – meaning that they were taken in the community rather than in hospitals and care homes
This graph shows that the positive cases were focussed on the east of the city centre with the highest numbers in dark blue
Pub landlords in Nottingham will demand council tax bills from patrons to prove they’re not from Leicester as bars outside the locked down city’s limits are told by police to brace for carnage on ‘Super Saturday’
Pub landlords in Nottingham will ask patrons to provide council tax bills to prove they aren’t from Leicester as bars outside the lockdown limits are told to brace for ‘Super Saturday.’
Police have advised landlords across the city, which is 30 miles north of Leicester, to prepare for a rush of customers from the locked down area when premises reopen this weekend.
Landlords and licensees in Nottingham attended a Zoom meeting this afternoon, where they were briefed on the situation by the police and local authorities.
Many of the city’s pubs will now ask drinkers to prove they are from Nottingham with council tax or utility bills before they can be served a long-awaited pint.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock extended lockdown measures in the East Midlands city on Monday after a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, with non-essential shops closed again and schools shut from Thursday.
Sheila Martin, who lives outside the lockdown zone, had been looking forward to opening her pub, The Black Horse in Blaby, on Saturday until Leicester’s lockdown
Pictured: Adam Cropper, one of the owners of the Ned Ludd in Nottingham, which is preparing to reopen on July 4
The nationwide easing of restrictions this Saturday – including the reopening of pubs, hair salons and restaurants – will not extend to the city.
Venues in Nottingham have already cancelled pub sessions pre-booked by Leicester visitors, and the Castle Rock Brewery will demand proof of address before patrons are served.
Required identification could include council tax bills, utility bills or student loan letters.
Head of Marketing at Castle Rock, Lewis Townsend, told the Nottingham Post: ‘In-line with government guidelines, we will be taking names and contact details at the door and customers may need to provide ID and postcode information.
‘We know this may cause disappointment, but we simply must ensure the safety and well-being of our teams and customers.’
Robert Glasby, manager of the Playhouse Bar and Kitchen in Nottingham, said: ‘I understand these are drastic measures, and in some cases will not be fair, but these are precautions we must take to ensure our city and its people are safe,’
Those inside a boundary drawn by the Government in Leicestershire and will face extended lockdown rules to limit the spread of the coronavirus after a recent surge of cases in the city.
Matt Keshavarz, manager of Nottingham’s Oz Bar, is confident he will manage to spot pub tourists when he opens his doors for the first time in three months on Saturday
Debbie Murray, 55, is desperately disappointed she will not be allowed to open the Star and Garter in Wigston, Leicester
Leicester has an infection rate of 135 per 100,000 people, which is three times higher than the next highest local area. Hospital admissions are also much higher than the norm at between six and ten per day.
Under the lockdown, those who live in the area cannot make unnecessary journeys and pubs will remain closed, raising fears a large numbers of residents will travel 30 miles to Nottingham for a drink.
‘The police told us they are preventing large groups travelling and they have spoken to coach companies,’ said Gavin Morrison of the Magpie Brewery, which runs the Crafty Crow in Nottingham.
‘They told us to put booking systems in place which might help to identify people coming from Leicester.’
But some landlords are not convinced they will be able to weed out drinkers from their East Midlands neighbour.
‘The police have said it is difficult because you can see their postcode on their driving license but you cannot see if they actually live in the lockdown zone,’ said Adam Cropper, one of the owners of the Ned Ludd.
‘The map of the locked down zone does not allow you to zoom in and check the postcode, so for me, it is impossible to police.’
Pictured: Ms Martin has prepared her pub with tape over seats and social distancing signs
Under the Government’s rules, pubs are expected to take down drinkers’ details so they can be traced in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a premises.
However, a driving licence may not be shown. Where proof of identification is asked for and given as a passport, there would be no verification of the person’s address, only place of birth.
‘They could give us any name or address,’ added Mr Cropper.
A landlord at another city centre bar, who did not want to be named, was more abrupt. ‘People are not honest,’ he said. ‘Everybody tells lies’.
But Matt Keshavarz, manager of Nottingham’s Oz Bar, is confident he will manage to spot pub tourists when he opens his doors for the first time in three months on Saturday.
‘People from Leicester will not get in,’ he said. ‘It is nothing against Leicester people, it is just keeping our customers and staff safe.
The Oz Bar is fully booked on Saturday and is expecting 170 customers, compared to the usual crowd of 520.
A person walks past a closed pub following the coronavirus disease outbreak in Leicester
Health Secretary Matt Hancock extended lockdown measures in the East Midlands city (pictured) on Monday after a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases
The pub has asked for postcodes and will request to see driving licenses on the door when booked guests arrive, however, Mr Keshavarz accepts some people may use a passport.
‘There are more cases of Coronavirus in Leicester and they have decided to stay in lockdown. My message would be to follow the guidelines. Stay at home and stay safe.
‘There is a high risk of people coming from Leicester but the police have said they will try to police it.’
Sheila Martin had been looking forward to opening her pub, The Black Horse in Blaby, on Saturday until Leicester’s lockdown.
Being 50 metres outside of the exclusion zone the popular landlady is pressing ahead with her plans, but now she feels nervous and fears she will be overwhelmed by residents from lockdown areas, who are desperate for a pint.
‘I am feeling very apprehensive,’ said Sheila, 56, who has run the community pub for 18 years.
As she prepared to cover her premises, which date from 1959, with black and yellow hazard tape to mark out social distancing, Ms Martin told MailOnline: ‘No one else is opening in Blaby and I think there will be a mad rush from everywhere else. That’s why I am having regulars only. I will be on the door.’
Leicester has an infection rate of 135 per 100,000 people, which is three times higher than the next highest local area
Hospital admissions are also much higher than the norm at between six and ten per day
Pedestrians wear masks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus in North Evington, Leicester
On a busy Saturday night Ms Martin might serve 200 customers, but this weekend she is limited to only 60, who will be accommodated in the back bar to allow a one-way system to operate, and in the car park, which has been fenced off to allow tables to be put in.
Ms Martin is prepared to ask for driving licenses to check postcodes, but most of the lucky ones who will gain admission she simply knows by sight.
‘Other pubs near here are staying closed until the city reopens,’ explained Ms Martin, whose regulars have demanded she finally open the doors after a thirsty three-month wait.
‘Judging by my Facebook people are ready for a drink,’ said Sheila, who has lost £120,000 in takings at the Trust Inns pub during lockdown.
‘We have said we will open at 12 on Saturday and most people have responded by saying they will be camping outside.’
Meanwhile, a few miles down the road in Wigston another landlady, Debbie Murray, 55, is desperately disappointed she will not be allowed to open the Star and Garter.
The traditional Everards pub, which was once an old coaching house and dates from 1879, is just a few metres inside the lockdown area and so must stay closed.
‘I put so much into getting ready, I was getting excited and just finished everything and then to be told there was another two-week lockdown, well, I just burst into tears,’ said Ms Murray, who runs the pub with her husband, Darren, 57.
The multi-room public house can accommodate around 200 people when full, but capacity will be halved when the Star and Garter finally opens.
A lot of preparation was completed before the new lockdown announcement, with Perspex screens on the bar and new furniture for outside, totalling thousands of pounds.
‘The brewery has been fantastic,’ said Ms Murray, who estimates takings of £180,000 have been lost during the three-month closure. ‘They have been really supportive.’
How a large BAME population, poverty and crowded households may have contributed to Leicester’s spike in cases
Government officials, local politicians and scientists are divided over whether Leicester is experiencing a real surge in cases or whether better testing is simply finding more of them where it wasn’t before.
It is also not clear whether there are any characteristics of Leicester which make it more likely to see a surge in cases, or if random chance has meant the first ‘second wave’ is happening there. Experts say many of the risk factors in Leicester are the same in all major cities in England.
The mayor of the city, Sir Peter Soulsby, said on BBC Radio 4 this morning that a report sent to him by the Government ‘actually acknowledges that it’s very likely that the increase in number of positives identified is a result of increased testing, and that actually there’s perhaps nothing of any great significance in those results.’
Director of Public Health for the city, Ivan Browne, said: ‘Interestingly it [the surge in cases] is very much around the younger, working age population and predominantly towards the east part of our city. We started to see this level through our testing programme.
‘Young people work in many industries across the city so at this stage what we’re trying to do is gather as much epidemiological information as we can to really try and get underneath and have an understanding. I don’t think at the moment that we are seeing a single source or a single smoking gun on this’.
It was always likely that surges in cases would be seen in cities first. There are more people, raising the risk, and those people are more likely to live in densely populated areas and come into contact with strangers on a regular basis.
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, from the University of Cambridge, said: ‘There will be differences in the ease with which people can maintain physical distance between densely populated areas and rural environments – so it isn’t surprising to me that we may see localised flare-ups, which in turn may need suppressing through delayed easing or temporary re-introduction of some constraints on some movements and activities.’
Leicester also has high levels of deprivation, which affects people’s lives in ways that put them at risk of catching the virus.
Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline: ‘In deprived areas people are more likely to have to go to work, less likely to be able to work from home, and more likely to use public transport. They can’t distance themselves from others.’
The Samworth Brothers sandwich factory in the city reported over the weekend that it had diagnosed cases of Covid-19 among its staff.
Food processing factories are a higher transmission risk because cold environments allow the virus to survive for longer on hard surfaces and make people’s airways more susceptible to infection.
Dr Clarke added that the types of work people do may increase their risk.
‘Blue collar cities are now at higher risk than places like London and Manchester which have more financial services,’ he added.
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