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NEW coronavirus infections have been reported at two Bradford schools and Jaguar Land Rover’s plant at Solihull amid the government’s rush to force employees back to work and children into schools.
Leaders have warned that the news brings the threat of new local lockdowns.
In Leeds, West Yorkshire, civic leaders and public-health officials said that the city could face renewed restrictions.
The latest seven-day infection rate shows Leeds as having 29.4 cases per 100,000 people.
In South Shields, Tyneside, the infection rate is 41 cases per 100,000, prompting a Labour MP to warn that a new lockdown would be “devastating” for local businesses.
National Education Union (NEU) Bradford president Ian Murch said news of new cases in schools came as no surprise.
“It’s going to be the reality that, after making the decision to open all schools fully, we are going to have coronavirus cases in them, it’s bound to happen.”
Labour’s MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, said: “It would be devastating for our local businesses, who have worked hard and acted responsibly, if we now entered into a local lockdown.
“Many of them have told me that if they shut their doors again it will be permanent.”
The Labour leader of Leeds City Council, Judith Blake, said: “The harsh reality is that if our infection rate continues to rise as it has been, we will be left with no alternative.
“With that in mind, now more than ever we need a collective effort from the people of Leeds who have shown so much resilience and civic pride throughout this crisis.”
Jaguar Land Rover confirmed the infections at its Solihull plant, with four workers testing positive.
Janet Newsham of the Hazards Campaign said: “For weeks we have been recording case clusters from workers who have tested positive for Covid-19 and, as the numbers grow, there is increasing evidence of workplace transmission.
“We are already seeing a stop-start interruption of education which will only get worse if the community transmission isn’t reduced to a negligible number.
“But that also means that testing and tracing must be fully functioning, with a high contact rate and speedier results.”
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