Department of Health agrees to share local testing data with councils
An agreement signed individually with councils will give them access to a digital dashboard showing tests results down to a postcode level.
Until now, local authorities had not had full access to the data on people tested for the virus in specific regions.
WHY IT MATTERS
This agreement comes after Leicester became the first city to have a local lockdown imposed on 30 June, due to a rise in coronavirus cases. Non-essential shops have shut and schools closed because of the spike in cases.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Leicester’s seven-day infection rate was 135 cases per 100,000 people. Health secretary, Matt Hancock said this was “three times higher than the next highest city” and that the city had, "10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week".
There has been criticisms of delays and weak data from MPs, with labour leader Keir Starmer stating that there had been a "lost week" due to city officials not having access to full testing data.
Access to this local data will provide timely data, as well as resources and tools in the aim to combat new local outbreaks in infection.
Prime minister, Boris Johnson said figures will be shared with all local authorities.
THE LARGER TREND
Over the weekend, the government eased lockdown restrictions further, with the reopening of restaurants, hair salons and bars.
Local lockdowns will become common in the aim of avoiding unnecessary blanket restrictions across the nation.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has said it wants the government to set metric “trigger points” for when action will be taken to introduce local restrictions and that metrics should consider not only the regional reproductive number, but also the number of the population currently infected.
They added that local leaders with up-to-date data was "vital" in containing outbreaks, particularly as officials are keeping track of cases in Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Kirklees, Oldham, Rotherham and Tameside which seen 30 to 44.9 cases per 100,000 people.