Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Barnsley Council says local lockdown will not be needed

Coronavirus testing taking place Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Figures show that Barnsley has seen the third highest number of positive tests in England

A council which has seen one of the highest coronavirus rates has said a local lockdown would not be needed.

Barnsley was named as one of the areas of England with a high number of infections, following the announcement of stricter measures in Leicester.

However, the local authority said it had seen a reduction in the number of new cases in recent days.

A council statement said: "We do not believe at this stage any further measures will need to be implemented."

Latest figures show that Leicester had 140 cases per 100,000 people in the week up until June 21.

The next highest area was Bradford which had just over 69 cases per 100,000 people.

While Barnsley was the third highest with just under 55 cases per 100,000 people.

Barnsley Council said daily cases had levelled off through May and June, instead of continuing to reduce.

It said this was largely due to local clusters of cases including those in a few care homes and workplaces.

Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said: "The government must ensure that local authorities have access to clear, consistent data on local transmission rates and have the powers to effectively implement local lockdowns where required."

Local authorities are being given access to postcode-level data about the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in their areas after it was agreed with the Department of Health.

Until recently, the government had published data on local cases covering tests carried out in hospitals and for health workers - known as Pillar 1.

Public Health England has now started releasing a weekly round-up of tests outside of hospitals, known as Pillar 2, with the latest figures expected on Thursday.

Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, said this data was "particularly concerning in constituencies like mine" and questioned why it had taken the government so long to make it available.

Meanwhile, the Labour MP for Bradford South, Judith Cummins said the number of infections in the city was "extremely concerning", and urged the government to outline steps to reduce the rate of coronavirus.

Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said they were working hard to prevent infection spreading "as no one wants a second lockdown".

According to the latest figures, the area with the fourth highest numbers was Rochdale which had about 53 cases per 100,000 people.

Andrea Fallon, Rochdale Borough Council's director of public health, said Rochdale was one of the first areas in the country to have a walk-through testing site which "will have had an impact on the number of positive test results".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that local lockdowns will be used to tackle regional coronavirus "flare-ups".

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