Boris Johnson says we must 'no longer be prisoners' of coronavirus but there will be more local lockdowns

BORIS Johnson today declared we must "no longer be prisoners" of coronavirus – amid warnings there will be more local lockdowns.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to see the country to "slowly, cautiously" come out of the coronavirus lockdown.

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In a stirring speech today in Dudley, the PM declared: "Where many in this country are nervous rightly about more outbreaks whether national or local, we cannot continue simply to be prisoners of this crisis.

"We are preparing now, slowly and cautiously, to come out of hibernation.

"I believe it is absolutely vital for us to sort out the road ahead."

And he said lessons had been learnt from the panmdemic, saying: "If the covid crisis has taught us one thing it’s that this country needs to be ready for what may be coming and we need to move with energy and speed not needed for generations."

Boris today committed to a huge injection of cash for the economy that will see £12bn on new homes with cut prices for first-time buyers and £1.5bn to repair hospitals as he said it was the "moment to be ambitious for Britain".

But he warned that Brits needed to still be on alert for the bug, saying that it was "still circling like a shark in the water."

It comes after Leicester today became the first city to be put into a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases.

And Jeremy Hunt warned that local lockdowns would become the "new normal" until a vaccine is found.

The city now accounts for 10 per cent of all coronavirus cases in the UK.

And while Boris declared that he wanted to see the country forge ahead, it was warned that other cities could face local lockdowns if the bug continued to spike in areas.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government had seen "flare-ups" in the last three or four weeks.

She said: "Because with local flare-ups it is right we have a localised solution in terms of infection control, social distancing, testing and many of the tools actually within the Public Health England space that will come together to control the virus and to stop the spread so we can get on top of the infection."

Regional secretary for the East Midlands, Paresh Patel, said: “This spike in coronavirus cases across the city is extremely worrying.

“Everyone needs to now play their part in getting this under control as rapidly as possible with localised lockdowns as necessary.”

Boris Johnson today thanked the people of Leicester for their “forbearance” in dealing with the new coronavirus restrictions.

What Boris Johnson promised today

£12bn on new homes with cut prices for first-time buyers

£1.5bn to repair hospitals

£1bn to fund 10-year school rebuilding programme

£560m school upgrades and repairs, plus £200m to further education colleges

£10m to improve railways around Manchester

£100m on road repairs including Humber Bridge

£40m to boost local conservation projects

£900million to “shovel ready” projects in the Midlands and North

£142million on upgrading courts

£83million for maintaining prisons

The drastic move will see non-essential shops closing while schools will also have to shut.

Leicester streets were today deserted after the news was announced.

The decision to close schools comes after a "unusually high" number of children under 18 tested positive for the bug.

And Mr Hancock said that while non-essential travel was not being made illegal, it would if it had to.

He continued: “We are recommending against all but essential travel to and from and within Leicester.

“We will take further action including putting in place laws if that’s necessary but I very much hope it won’t be.

“If further action is needed then of course we are willing to take it.”

Officials have now asked for more time to get the disease under control as they scramble to understand why Leicester has been so badly affected.

There have been outbreaks in food production sites, clothing factories and in large multi-generational households.

About 28 per cent of Leicester’s population is of Indian heritage, and a further 21 per cent are from black or Asian backgrounds.

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