Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said officials are working hard to trace people who have come into contact with fresh cases. About a quarter – 658 – of the 2,494 COVID-19 cases in Leicester were reported in the past two weeks, official figures show. Leicester City Council’s public health director Ivan Browne said the city, which has a population of 329,800, is home to large communities of ethnic minorities.
He also said there were high levels of diabetes and other pre-existing health conditions among residents which heightens their risk of contracting coronavirus.
He said: “We know that these factors combine to create a high-risk, more vulnerable population that’s more susceptible to coronavirus.”
He said authorities were concerned over the rise in cases but stressed that as things stand the numbers are “relatively small”.
The second wave fears have been spurred on by an outbreak at a meat processing plant in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, which supplies bacon to Asda supermarkets.
In a statement, Kober Ltd and Asda 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 voluntarily closed the site to protect colleagues and prevent any further transmission.”
The outbreak comes as thousands of Germans were told to quarantine and schools were shut after a spike in cases among staff at an abattoir fueled fears of a second virus wave.
More than 650 people tested positive at the meat processing site in Gütersloh, in the north-west of the country.
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8.08am update: ‘No point in rolling out a system that fails,’ says Gibb on tracing app
Schools minister Nick Gibb has told Sky News the Government is looking for an “ambitious” plan to track and trace those who have come into contact with infected people.
When asked about the Government abandoning its own contact-tracing app in favour of a design by tech giants Apple and Google, Mr Gibb said there is no point rolling out a system that then fails.
He said: “We want to have ambitious plans to track and trace, and that’s what the app is about, but it has to be properly tested.
“There’s no point in rolling out a system that then fails because what you’re asking people to do when they’re contacted by the tracers is to self-isolate and you have to be able to trust the information.”
Mr Gibb added: “The app was almost like the cherry on the cake.
“It’s a sort of more sophisticated extra layer on top of the track and trace, but it has to be able to operate properly.
“It has to be able to measure, for example, the distance between people accurately for it to be effective.”