Kirkstall Covid-19 cluster under control – but city may face ‘movement restrictions’

kirkstall leisure centre
Improvements: Kirkstall Leisure Centre

One of Leeds’s most senior civil servants has claimed the city may have to face “movement restrictions” if the district’s spread of Covid-19 continues to worsen, writes Richard Beecham.

A meeting of councillors and council officers heard how, while clusters of infections in Kirkstall and Harehills were now under control, there was still a problem of younger people mixing together and spreading the virus.

Mariana Pexton, the council’s chief corporate support officer, claimed that measures might have to be introduced to restrict individuals’ movements if infection rates continued to worsen. But she added such measures might have to be different to those from recent local lockdowns in areas such as Bradford and Kirklees.

Ms Pexton told Leeds City Council’s strategy and resources scrutiny board:

“If you take Leicester, Blackburn and some of our neighbours, they were seeing some quite tightly-clustered outbreaks in communities.

“They had instructions not to mix households – they didn’t affect things to do with work.

“We have two very different patterns emerging – one is community clusters which we are working on and are turning around – Kirkstall has definitely turned around and Harehills is definitely stable now.

“But we have this more dynamic pattern now of young people, across the city. It is more to do with social gatherings, coming back from holiday and exam celebrations. The solution to that is potentially different in terms of movement restrictions.

“We are ramping communications up to tackle that and stem that flow of the increase. If we need to, we will need to consider movement restrictions.

“There is political engagement in terms of what type of restrictions take place. It’s far from linear, it’s much more complicated than that. We need to be proportionate and measured about it.”

It follows claims earlier this month from the council’s CEO Tom Riordan, who said more work was being done avoid “raves and unlicensed events” to prevent the spread of the virus among young people.

Following Mr Riordan’s comments, Leeds was added as an “area of concern” on the government’s Coronavirus “watch list” on Friday, September 4.

The latest rolling seven-day infection rate in Leeds shows 41.6 cases per 100,000 people, up from 27.5 the previous seven days and the highest rate since mid-May.


  1. Madness. 2 deaths two days ago, 3 yesterday and less than 70 critical in hospital throughout the UK out of a population of nearly 68 million. I start taking children to school for the local authority this week. We’re working in a bubble apparently. Each bus and passenger assistants working with the same kids. However, each child comes from different classrooms (that are also bubble managed) and 10 different families. It’s like taking washing from 3 different washing machines and throwing them all into the same dryer. What is being achieved here?
    How does this protect the elderly. It doesn’t. What protects the eldery is an almost negligible death rate from a virus less dangerous than cancer, flu and hospital closure. Get a grip UK


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.