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)
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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.


World political and religious leaders denounce deadly terror attack in French church

Updated 30 October 2020

World political and religious leaders denounce deadly terror attack in French church

  • Attacker killed three at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice

JEDDAH: Political and religious leaders worldwide united in condemnation on Thursday after a man wielding a knife beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice.
The attacker, Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, a Tunisian migrant, was shot six times by police as he fled the Basilica of Notre-Dame, and taken to hospital for treatment.
President Emmanuel Macron said France had been attacked by an Islamist terrorist “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief. And I say it with lots of clarity again today, we will not give any ground.”
The attack took place as Muslims observed the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. A spokesman for the French Council for the Muslim Faith said: “As a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims and their loved ones, I call on all Muslims in France to cancel all the celebrations of the holiday.”
Saudi Arabia condemned the attack. “We reiterate the Kingdom’s categorical rejection of such extremist acts that are inconsistent with all religions, human beliefs and common sense, and we affirm the importance of rejecting practices that generate hatred, violence and extremism,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation “affirmed its steadfast position rejecting the phenomenon of hyperbole, extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever the causes and motives, calling for avoiding practices that lead to hate and violence.”

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Arab and Muslim leaders drew a distinction between Islam and violent acts that claimed to defend it. At Al-Azhar in Cairo, the center of Sunni Muslim learning, Grand Mufti Ahmed Al-Tayeb denounced the murders as a “hateful terror act.” He said: “There is nothing that justifies these heinous terror acts which are contrary to Islam’s teachings.”
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri voiced his “strongest condemnation and disapproval of the heinous criminal attack,” and urged Muslims “to reject this criminal act that has nothing to do with Islam or the prophet.”
There was condemnation from US President Donald Trump, UN chief Antonio Guterres, and European, Arab and Israeli leaders. “Our hearts are with the people of France. America stands with our oldest ally in this fight,” Trump tweeted.
Thursday’s attack began at about 9 a.m. when Aouissaoui burst into the church in Avenue Jean Medecin, the French Riviera city’s main shopping street. He slit the throat of a church worker, beheaded an elderly woman, and badly wounded another woman.
The church official and the elderly woman died at the scene. The third victim escaped to a nearby cafe, where she died from her wounds.
Nice’s Mayor, Christian Estrosi, compared the attack to the beheading this month near Paris of teacher Samuel Paty, who had used cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics class.
The cartoons caused widespread offense in the Muslim world when they were published five years ago in a Danish newspaper and a French satirical magazine. Their re-emergence has led to anti-French protests in several Muslim-majority countries.