Live updates as Leeds Council holds Covid briefing as city marks a year since lockdown

Leeds City Council is holding a briefing this morning as the city marks a year since lockdown.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 12:13 pm
Live updates from the briefing

The council is expected discuss how the city is continuing to tackle coronavirus and the steps ahead as restrictions are eased.

Buildings in Leeds will be lit up yellow on Tuesday in memory of those who have lost their lives during the pandemic.

As part of the National Day of Reflection, organised by charity Marie Curie, the city will pause for a minute's silence at 8pm.

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People are being encouraged to stand on their doorsteps or at their windows and 'light up the night', shining phones, candles or torches to remember someone who has died.

Scroll down for live updates from the council's briefing:

Live updates as Leeds Council holds Covid briefing as city marks a year since lockdown

Last updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2021, 13:19

Leeds “on track for reopening” with roadmap out of lockdown

“We are on track for reopening - we are hoping there will be confirmation that March 29 will mean the rule of six and allow people to meet outdoors.

“We are working closely with the hospitality and retail industry for reopening around April and May, with a complete reopening, hopefully, in June.”

On the elections, he added that 70 polling stations in the city had changed, adding that those who wanted to vote in person should check their polling cards for the location.

He added: “We have had to move to different arrangements in several parts of the city.

“We will this year have a record number of people registered to vote by post. Just under 200,000 people will be able to vote that way.

“The polling stations will be safe but they will be a bit like going into a shop at the moment. You will have to wear a mask and you will be able to use your own pen or pencil, although pencils will be there for people to use.”

“The virus will be with us for a long while"

James Lewis: “Over the past year there have been lots of changes for people in their personal lives and working lives.

“We have seen a lot of restrictions I don’t think anyone imagined we’d see in this country. It was a really impressive operation at the elland road vaccination site. We need to make sure nobody is left behind by the vaccinations.

“We know the virus is going to be with us for a long while. I don’t want there to be groups of people in Leeds we’ve not been able to reach with the vaccine.

“It’s so important to be making sure that as a city we move forward together.”

Rise in prison cases impacted on Leeds infection rate

Victoria Eaton said: “We have three prisons in Leeds and have had a lot of prison cases which has impacted on the infection cases across the city.”

“Do not race ahead”: Four steps to roadmap out of lockdown, says head of public health in Leeds

Victoria Eaton said that there are four key messages as we move out of lockdown.

She said people need to stick to the restrictions and not “race ahead of the road map as frustrated as people may be.”

Secondly, she urged people to continue following measures such as washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Thirdly, she urged people to get tested if they have symptoms.

And lastly, she said the “wya forward” is to encourage everyone to get the vaccination if they are eligible.

Rates in over 60s falling and staying down

Ms Eaton said: “The good news is that our rates in over 60s are coming down really well.

“They are falling by around a quarter each week and they are staying down.

“This reduces the pressure on hospitals.”

Rates in Leeds lower than average in rest of Yorkshire and the Humber

Victoria Eaton, director of Public Health in Leeds said that rates in Leeds are improving and rates are just above 100.

Ms Eaton said: “It is still higher than we would like it but we are lower than the average on Yorkshire and the Humber.”

Polling stations will be safe but people will be asked to wear masks

Mr Riordan said: “Polling stations will be safe but people will have to wear a mask, and people will be able to sanitise their hands and people can use their own pen and pencil but there will be pencils available to use.”

Social distancing will be in place.

Deadline to vote by post still available.

“Key is a very localised neighbourhood approach” to vaccinations.

Tom Riordan, CEO of Leeds City Council, says we are able to look to the future with much more “optimism” this year.

Mr Riordan said: “They key to getting this right in a city like this, is a very localised neighbourhood approach.

“We are working very closely with the hospital and retail industry with the reopening in April.”

Covid rates in older people down, leading to less hospitalisations

Rate in older people is down which has lead to less hospitalisations, councillor James Lewis said.

255,000 people in Leeds have had their vaccination

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said that 255,000 people have had their vaccinations in Leeds.

He said the Elland Road vaccination site is a “really impressive operation”.

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