Leeds expected to become 'area of concern' as coronavirus cases rise

Local leaders and public health officials in Leeds have called for the city to make an effort in avoiding further restrictions being put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The city is expected to be added to Public Health England's weekly watchlist as an "area of concern" after its seven-day infection rate rose to 29.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Leeds Council and partners have recently put in place preventative measures to stay on top of community transmission, including mobile testing,targeted community work and public awareness campaigns.

Council leader Judith Blake said it is "a pivotal moment in our efforts to control the spread of the virus".

"Nobody wants to see further restrictions on life in Leeds," she said.

"The harsh reality is that if our infection rate continues to rise as it has been, we will be left with no alternative".

The council said 44 new cases were identified in Leeds on Wednesday.

Ms Blake added: "September is a critical time, we have our schools going back and then we have significant numbers of students travelling from all over the country and beyond to come back to our universities."

Leeds, unlike neighbouring Bradford, has avoided stricter measures because its infection rates were much lower.

However, there were 258 cases in the week up until 30 August, up from 167 in the week up until 23 August.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of Public Health said: “It’s imperative that we do all we can to contain the spread of this virus and protect one another at this crucial time for the city.

Using the latest data and intelligence, our local and national systems are working together to help us track and trace the spread of Covid-19 in Leeds as efficiently as possible."

Last month, the council said it was introducing "a series of targeted preventative steps" following a cluster of cases in parts of Leeds.

There has been a cluster of cases in recent weeks within Kirkstall, Harehills and surrounding areas, according to Leeds City Council.

A range of measures are now expected to be introduced including additional mobile testing units, door knocking in areas of high prevalence, and officials will work with bars, venues and restaurants to make sure they follow Test and Trace guidelines.