Health officials in north-west London said they would be unsure about how to implement local lockdown measures similar to those put in place in Leicester.

At a health and wellbeing board meeting last night (June 29), Dr Melanie Smith, director of public health at Brent Council, said she “can’t see how [it] would shut down a defined geographic area”.

It comes after the Government announced plans to close non-essential shops in Leicester and push back the further easing of restrictions that were set to take place on Saturday (July 4).

The majority of children will also be unable to attend school as the city tries to combat a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

But Dr Smith said she is “unsure” how the council would manage such a situation in Brent – particularly when it comes to enforcement.

She said: “We have to recognise that a local lockdown that required enforcement would represent a failure of communication and trust with the community.

“It would be much, much better to introduce restrictions voluntarily.

“I don’t see how we could shut down a defined geographic area – and we have asked that question to central government.”

Dr Smith said she was “quite happy” with the borough’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the situation it currently finds itself in.

This includes contacting food processing companies in the borough, after similar sites across the country saw a jump in coronavirus cases.

But she said she would like to reassess the situation after the next couple of weeks as the region prepares for the further easing of lockdown restrictions, including the reopening of pubs and restaurants.

She added that, while testing in Brent has been “a bit of a success story”, she has “some concerns” around the possible spread in workplaces.

This is because the council relies on the ‘test and trace’ system to ensure it is targeted and contained.

To address this, she said the council is stressing the importance of “following up on testing” by encouraging those with positive results to self-isolate and reach out to those they have had contact with.