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Loughborough pub bans under-21s 'over rising Covid-19 rates'

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image captionThe White Hart stopped admitting under-21s on Thursday

A pub has banned under-21s over concerns at the rise in coronavirus infection rates in the area.

The White Hart, in Church Gate, Loughborough, announced the restrictions on Thursday.

The pub is in the borough of Charnwood, which has the highest seven-day coronavirus infection rate in Leicestershire.

The pub said on Facebook it accepted the move would prove "unpopular" but needed to protect staff and customers.

The White Hart said it was becoming "increasingly more concerned" by a rise in cases in the Charnwood area, which Loughborough University falls into.

"This hasn't been an easy one, and it's one that we think may prove unpopular with some of you, however we do feel that it's necessary at this time," it said.

The restriction excludes under-18s who are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The infection rate in Charnwood is 259.9 per 100,000 people in the week up to 12 October, up from 116.8 the week before, according to latest data from Public Health England.

The number of confirmed cases rose from 217 to 483 in that time.

The rate puts Charnwood ahead of Oadby and Wigston (221) and Leicester (193.1), which have both been put into second level of the government's three-tier Covid-19 alert system, announced on Monday.

However, Charnwood is in the lower Tier 1, which means people are allowed to visit pubs in groups of six or less, but are restricted to table service.

On Wednesday, Mike Sandys, director of public health for Leicestershire, said the student population in Charnwood was a "driver" in cases, but added it would be wrong to say the increase was their fault.

Jonathan Morgan, leader of Charnwood Borough Council, said the university's figures are roughly "50 to 60% of the total figure".

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