Boris Johnson suggests possible language barrier in Leicester as residents ‘struggled to understand’ virus rules


BORIS Johnson has claimed Leicester residents “struggled to understand” the virus rules to stop the spread of the disease.

The Prime Minister today suggested the city was forced into lockdown as many of the residents didn’t know about the Government guidance.

The PM suggested some residents had not understood the rules.

Speaking at PMQS, Boris claimed the city had “particular” problems after being challenged by the Labour leader on how the outbreak happened.

He said: “For reasons that I think the House will probably understand, there were particular problems in Leicester in implementing the advice and getting people to understand what was necessary to do.

“But let’s face it, we’ve had to act, the government has acted.

“And he wants to know whether we’ll act in future to ensure we protect the health of the entire country – and I can tell him that we will, absolutely.”

ONS figures from 2011 found Gujarati is the first language for 11.5 per cent of the city.

It comes after one local politician suggested barriers among Leicester’s Asian community could be one factor behind the city’s coronavirus spike.

City councillor Ratilal Govind said he thought a lack communication with people who do not speak English as a first language could be one factor behind the increasing numbers.

Some 49 per cent of Leicester’s 340,000 population is of Asian heritage or from black backgrounds while in east Leicester that figure is around two thirds.

He said: “I have seen young people getting together, having a few drinks and conversation.

“They are just social gatherings. With these young people there is a language barrier. They are speaking their own language and I tell them to disperse in Gujarati.

“There is a lack of communication made worse by the language barriers.”

The city’s director of public health, Ivan Browne said health conditions such as diabetes and pockets of deprivation could also be to blame.

He said: “We know that these factors combine to create a high-risk, more vulnerable, population that’s more susceptible to coronavirus”.



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