Local lockdowns could stigmatise towns and bring economic decline, advisers warn

Edward Argar, the minister for health, said the measures would be reviewed again next week.

“It is essential we all remain vigilant, and I urge everyone in these areas to follow the rules – wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to,” he said.

“We will keep all local restrictions under constant consideration, including ahead of any formal reviews. 

“As part of ensuring a proportionate yet robust response to the virus, where possible, the Government will remove individual areas from these measures while maintaining or even strengthening measures in others as necessary – just as has been done in other areas where local measures have been brought in, such as Leicestershire.”

The SPI-B group also warned that shutting businesses would impact local government finances, meaning less money to spend on services.  

It advised against using the term “local lockdown” because that had left residents of Leicester feeling “ashamed” and “punished”.

“The intervention was highly divisive,” said the behavioural experts. “People felt that they had been ‘forgotten’ but also had become the ‘Lepers of Leicester’ or the ‘Pariahs of Leicester’.

“They felt ‘ashamed’ and like a ‘laughing stock’ because they were still in lockdown after the national day of lessening of restrictions on July 4. The lockdown, because of its name and its targeting on Leicester, was understood as a ‘punishment’.”

Newark and Sherwood, in Nottinghamshire, has been added as “areas of concern”, the Government said on Friday while Eden, in Cumbria, is being removed thanks to a drop in cases.

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