THE Government has been criticised for failing to publish vital Covid-19 tracking data which could have provided a warning there would be a spike in cases in Leicester.

As Leicester became the first city in the UK to return to lockdown after a spike in Covid-19 cases, it emerged council officials had been left waiting almost two weeks to before seeing figures showing the true rate of cases in the area.

As a result they were unable to accurately compare the level of new cases with other regions to determine whether there was a greater risk.

Gloucestershire County Council has now revealed its Pillar 2 Coronavirus case data for the first time.

This will provide a more complete picture of the number of confirmed cases there has been in the county, as it includes both details of cases confirmed via both NHS and PHE testing (Pillar 1) and community testing by commercial partners and the military (Pillar 2).

Previously, only Pillar 1 data has been confirmed by the Government.

Although the number of people who have sadly died with coronavirus remains unchanged, the new information allows for a more accurate view of the current situation.

A spokesman for GCC said: "In addition to the already published data (Pillar 1), we have for some time been receiving the Pillar 2 data from PHE, which although we have not been able to publish has been used to inform our response and keep a track of all of positive cases in the county.

"Under the Pillar 2 testing (home tests, the mobile testing units and more recently the fixed site at Hempsted Meadows), an additional 360 additional cases have been identified since 16 March – they are not newly detected cases. Even with the Pillar 2 cases added in, the overall picture for the county has not changed with the peak of cases occurring in the middle of April."

Sarah Scott, director of public health for Gloucestershire said: “The data we are releasing today provides a more complete picture of the number of confirmed cases in the county and clearly shows there is no spike. I completely understand that with so many sets of data available it has been difficult for people to get a complete picture of the situation in the county and indeed across the country.

"I hope this additional data helps to provide more clarity for everyone.

"As we take on more local control through our outbreak management plan, we will look to provide regular, up to date, more detailed data to ensure everyone is as informed as possible and can take any appropriate steps to keep them and family members safe.

“It is important to remember that although, when compared to elsewhere in the country, we have seen lower numbers of cases and deaths and currently have no outbreaks, we must continue to work together, make sure we follow social distancing measures, keep up the good hand washing.

"That way we can make sure we’re doing everything possible to make sure it stays that way.”

Gloucestershire’s Covid-19 case data is available here: