By Grahame Anderson

Sunderland’s Director of Health has hit out at claims the city could be set to follow Leicester in a new coronavirus lockdown.

There have been rumours circulating over the past few days suggesting Wearside is one of 36 areas at risk of local lockdown. Recent figures have revealed Out of 145 local authorities, Sunderland is at the lower end of the scale for case rates, sitting 113th in the country.

Sunderland’s Director of Health, Gillian Dobson told us: “We would like to reassure residents that based on current national and local data these reports couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact national published data shows that there have only been two new cases of Covid-19 between 6 and 23 June.

New Public Health England figures also show that for the week ending 21 June, there were just 1.8 recorded cases of Covid per 100,000 people in Sunderland. This ranks Sunderland at 125th out of 150 upper tier local authorities, and one of the lowest rates in England and Wales.

The City Council is continuing to monitor all nationally and locally available data to give it an accurate and updated picture of the number of Covid cases. And, although we are not allowed to do so at the moment, we are seeking to share more of this data with partners and local communities.

However we can confirm that figures are not causing any concern currently.”

In the North East Middlesbrough and Hartlepool currently have the highest case rates per 100,000 people at 6.4 each. The local authorities are in 49th and 51st places respectively

Over in West Yorkshire Similar fears have been circulating in Bradford with Professor John Wright saying: “Earlier this week, Leicester went back into lockdown and my big fear is that Bradford will be next.

“Cities like Leicester, Bradford and London right at the start of the epidemic, these were the places we were most concerned about – high population densities, people living very close to each other and so it’s a perfect environment for the virus to spread.”

Fresh data shows Bradford has 45.8 cases per 100,000 population, the second highest in England behind Leicester with 141.3.

Professor Wright added: “At the start of the epidemic, what gave me great reassurance was the wisdom of the people of this city of Bradford.

“They knew long before the Government announced lockdown what was happening.

“They knew what was coming and they took steps to protect themselves and their families.

“So we need that wisdom back again, today. This weekend, be vigilant, be careful.

“Keep practising social distancing, don’t get too close to people.”

Here is the full list, showing the number of cases per 100,000 population in the week ending June 28 and, in brackets, the equivalent figure for the previous week ending June 21.

Leicester 141.3 (140.2)
Bradford 45.8 (69.4)
Barnsley 35.1 (54.7)
Rochdale 35.0 (53.6)
Oldham 30.1 (38.6)
Kirklees 26.2 (30.3)
Rotherham 26.1 (33.6)
Sheffield 24.4 (20.6)
Bolton 23.5 (15.8)
Doncaster 21.3 (17.4)
Blackburn with Darwen 20.8 (32.9)
Knowsley 20.1 (6.0)
Peterborough 18.9 (27.9)
Bedford 18.1 (42.0)
Manchester 17.5 (21.6)