UK could lock down city of Leicester after virus surge

People walk in the sunshine as they visit Camden Market in London on June 28, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 28 June 2020

UK could lock down city of Leicester after virus surge

  • The city recorded 658 new cases in the two weeks up to June 16
  • Reports said the government was set to reimpose strict lockdown rules on Leicester

LONDON: The central English city of Leicester could be the country’s first to face a local lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases, the UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel said Sunday.
The Midlands city recorded 658 new cases in the two weeks up to June 16, many linked to fresh outbreaks at food production plants.
Patel told the BBC that there have been “flare-ups across the country in recent weeks, in just the last three or four weeks in particular.”
“For local outbreaks, it is appropriate to have local solutions in terms of infection control, social distancing, screening and many tools,” she added.
“There will be support going into Leicester.”
Reports in the Sunday Times newspaper said the government was set to reimpose strict lockdown rules on Leicester “within the next few days.”
Leicester’s population stands at around 340,000 people, according to official figures.
The news comes at a worrying time for the UK, a country badly affected by the pandemic.
Boris Johnson’s government is set to ease lockdown restrictions from July 4 — despite fears of a second wave of infections — by opening pubs, restaurants and hairdressers among others across England.
In the last few days, Britain has seen tens of thousands of people ignore social distancing rules to flood the beaches and hold street parties. Liverpool fans also crowded that city after their football club won the Premier League.
Leading medical experts warned earlier this month of the “real risk” of a second coronavirus wave this winter.
“I think nothing would be more damaging for our country, for our economy if we do have a second wave,” Patel said.
More than 43,500 people have died due to the coronavirus in Britain, official figures show.


Malaysia welcomes its first halal TV streaming service

Updated 22 September 2020

Malaysia welcomes its first halal TV streaming service

  • Service attracts more than 10,000 subscribers since July

KUALA LUMPUR: Netflix could soon have competition from a homegrown entertainment platform in Malaysia which, its makers say, will cater to Muslims’ “halal TV” needs based on Islamic values.

Dubbed “Nurflix,” the platform is Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant streaming service and has attracted more than 10,000 subscribers since July.

Nurflix is the creation of Syah Rizal Mohamed, who wants to produce and release original content for the platform before its official launch in January.

“We spent $9.7 million for the startup, but the company will produce 1,000 (items of) original content in multiple categories like mainstream, educational, spiritual and motivational and kids, with about 12,000 episodes in the first five years of operating,” the 43-year-old CEO told Arab News.

He also plans for Nurflix to acquire content from local and international producers, as long as they align with the service’s production guidelines, with a focus on markets in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore before setting up internationally.

“We see ourselves covering the Southeast Asian region in the next five years with our readiness to establish hubs in the Middle East and Europe to gain traction in the international market.”

He said the decision to tap into the streaming service market was driven by the rapid growth of video-on-demand media and consumers choosing this, as well as over-the-top subscription services, as their main form of entertainment. 

Consumers agreed that there was a market for a halal content platform.

“The Islamic streaming service just enriches the Islamic entertainment ecosystem because there is a niche for it,” 25-year-old public relations executive Puteri N. Balqis told Arab News.

Media consultant Amir Hadi Azmi said a Shariah-compliant streaming service was an interesting niche, particularly for more conservative users, but that the concept was not unique to Islam or Muslims.

“In America, for example, there is a service called Pure Flix which caters to more conservative Christian viewers,” he told Arab News.

Amir Muhammad, managing director of Kuman Pictures, said that as a producer, the more outlets that were made available to content producers and filmmakers, the better. Kuman Pictures, which is known for releasing horror and thriller content, could create appropriate content if need be.

“I have not seen their actual guidelines, but if they want halal horror, we will give them halal horror,” he told Arab News.

The Nurflix CEO said there would be a Content Advisory Council and that it would be headed and supervised by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin Al Hamid and the Honorable Ustaz Raja Ahmad Mukhlis.

“Productions, including third-party content providers, will be monitored by the council to ensure the end product abides by the set guidelines. Nurflix is unique in the market because it is not just offering Islamic-guided content. The production will be monitored by the council to ensure all aspects of work are conducted in a Shariah-compliant manner.”

Although there is no formal collaboration with the Islamic Affairs Department, he said that Nurflix’s ideas and concepts had already been shared with Islamic Affairs Minister Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.

When contacted by Arab News, the director-general of Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development Paimuzi Yahya said his department was still working on “collaborating with the streaming service” and declined to comment further.