Official data showed that about 25 percent of Leicester’s 2,494 confirmed coronavirus infections were recorded in the last two weeks. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said authorities were focusing on tracing those who have contracted the disease.
Also, various confirmed infection were reported at the Kober factory in Cleckheaton, a supplier to Asda stores.
Leicester City Council’s public health director said the figures – 658 in the last two weeks – were “relatively small” but worrisome.
Ivan Browne said Leicester had high levels of ailments such as diabetes, “pockets of deprivation, and a very significant Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population”.
“We know that these factors combine to create a high-risk, more vulnerable population that’s more susceptible to coronavirus,” he said.
Second wave fears as Leicester and Cleckheaton report surge in cases
Mr Browne cautioned that the UK is still being affected by the virus, in spite of the lifting of lockdown measures.
At the daily Downing Street briefing, Mr Hancock said there was an “outbreak right now in parts of Leicester” and that authorities were focusing their efforts to track those who are infected.
Mr Hancock also made reference to a further cluster of infections in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.
On Thursday evening, Asda said it would temporarily shutter the meat processing factory.
Matt Hancock made reference to a further cluster of infections in Kirklees, West Yorkshire
In a statement, it said: “As soon as we became aware that some colleagues at our Kober site may have Covid-19, we responded swiftly and worked collaboratively with the local authority and Public Health England to test all colleagues.
“We have also voluntarily closed the site to protect colleagues and prevent any further transmission.
“Colleagues who need to self-isolate will receive full pay and we aim to reopen the facility early next week.”
Labour MPs have denounced the way Mr Hancock revealed the new cases.
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The vital importance of social distancing
Tracy Brabin, the MP for Batley and Spen, which is where the meat processing plant is located, in Cleckheaton, said she was “extremely disappointed” Mr Hancock revealed the outbreak at the daily briefing claiming it had “instilled anxiety” in her constituency.
She added it was “incredibly careless” and risked “inciting panic among local communities”.
Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman tweeted that the claims also came as a shock to him.
He wrote: “Surprised to learn of a serious outbreak of Coronavirus cases in Kirklees from No10 briefing apparently associated with meat processing plant in Cleckheaton!”
In a tweet, Kirklees Council’s public health director Rachel Spencer-Henshall said there had been a several confirmed infections at a local company.
Officials had given advice to managers and employees to minimise further contagion, she said, and had offered coronavirus testing to workers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said authorities were focusing on tracing those who have contracted the disease
It wrote: “The Health Secretary gave the effective action we have taken with Public Health England to contain the outbreak as an example of good practice in the test and trace programme.
“We immediately started providing support and advice to the employer and staff in order to contain the outbreak.
“We have worked with colleagues at Public Health England to provide testing, advice and support to the employer who has cooperated fully throughout.
It then added that shuttering the list would not help stop the spread.
It wrote: “We understand concerns people may have but disclosing the location won’t help contain the infection.
“People who might be affected have been contacted directly and we will continue to work with the employer and PHE to keep everyone safe.