BRADFORD could become the next area of Britain to go back into lockdown because of a surge in coronavirus cases.
According to national news outlets, Bradford is on a Government “watch list” of places where local lockdowns could be required if more targeted measures fail to get to grips with fresh coronavirus spikes.
The Daily Telegraph reported that there is now mounting concern over areas in the Midlands and North with large minority populations and Whitehall insiders said that Bradford, the city with the second highest rate of infection after Leicester, was being closely monitored.
Sky News reported that sources in Public Health England and the Department for Health had said Bradford could be the next to lock down.
They said there was also a list of 36 “at-risk” areas with other Yorkshire areas Wakefield, Doncaster and York on the list but not Bradford.
Figures from Public Health England show that there were 69.4 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population up to June 21 for the district.
That compares to 140.2 for Leicester where strict lockdown has been reimposed, 198 for Leeds and 30.3 for Kirklees.
Bradford Council say they received the figures from PHE on Monday.
The latest Public Health England (PHE) figures show that Bradford had more than 45 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in the week to June 21 when all the testing in hospitals, care homes and swab tests of the wider population are added together.
It is a similar rate to that of Leicester which this week was the subject of a local lockdown.
Professor John Wright, a doctor at BRI and epidemiologist and the head of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, tweeted today that “Bradford needs urgent care”.
A #COVID19 fever map and a Bradford needs urgent care. Cases high and the @BTHFT still too busy. This is such a critical time to keep social distancing, avoid gatherings, maintain hand washing and keep looking after our vulnerable citizens.
The virus is still circulating pic.twitter.com/55vOZM5o0j
— John Wright (@docjohnwright) July 1, 2020
He highlighted the map produced by PHE showing the number of cases per 100,000 population which showed Bradford was a hotspot for cases.
He said: “A Covid-19 fever map and Bradford needs urgent care. Cases high and the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust still too busy.
“This is such a critical time to keep social distancing, avoid gatherings, maintain hand washing and keep looking after our vulnerable citizens.
“The virus is still circulating.”
Labour MP Yvette Cooper tweeted that health authorities in her constituency in Wakefield, had been trying to get hold of local Pillar 2 testing data – the results from swab tests of the wider population – but had not been able to.
She said: “In public health crisis, most important thing is knowing where infection is. Appalling & incomprehensible that basic info hasn’t been provided.”
A key scientist in the coronavirus response warned that Bradford and Doncaster are “clearly of concern”, with high rates of coronavirus.
Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson, who used to advise the Government, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s inevitable we will (have further local outbreaks), we are relaxing lockdown rules and that means that contacts in the population are going up and that’s a very variable process.”
Asked about Bradford and Doncaster, he said: “Those are areas, where not as high as Leicester, but they have some of the highest numbers of cases per 100,000 of the population, which is the relevant measure, so they’re clearly of concern.”
He added that there is an “illusion out there that we are past the worst” and warned that “this is far from over”.
He said: “We were, in retrospect, one of the most heavily seeded countries with infection in Europe.
“I would say, before we make international comparisons though, just bear in mind we are still very early into this pandemic – there’s a bit of an illusion out there that somehow we are past the worst.
“In this country we’ve probably had no more than 8% of the population infected.
“This is far from over, so I think lessons can be learned from what happened in the UK up to now, but I would prefer to focus on getting the next six months right before looking back in earnest.”