‘The tier system just isn’t working’ Council leader demands four-week England lockdown

Birmingham City Council leader councillor Ian Ward has called for the Government to “immediately” impose a four-week national “circuit-breaker” lockdown.

The city had been widely mooted for a move to Tier 3 measures as soon as the end of next week because of rising infection rates.

Coun Ward said: “The problem is the tier system just isn’t working.

“Areas in Tier 3 are still seeing rising cases.”

He added: “I am of the opinion England needs to follow France, Germany and Wales with a national circuit-breaker as quickly as possible.

“We must not repeat the mistake of last March in not moving soon enough.”

Coun Ward, who runs England’s biggest council with a population of 1.1 million, said: “The circuit-breaker has the best chance in my view of driving rates down and gives the Government time to address the serious problems with the Serco test and trace system.

“I am not suggesting the Government imposes this and just crosses its fingers, it would be an opportunity to put things right and it would buy us valuable time.

“Delaying this decision will mean more avoidable deaths and only prolong the economic damage because the current system just doesn’t work.

“My view, when it emerged the Government had chosen to ignore calls for a circuit-breaker in September, was that if the three-tier system didn’t work then the Government would have serious questions to answer.

“We’re almost into November and the situation is now much worse.”

Coun Ward added: “The Government must reconsider its position and agree to a circuit-breaker and put the right support in place for jobs and businesses.

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“The latest data from test and trace shows that a total of 126,065 tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to October 21, a 23% increase on the previous increase and the highest weekly number since the programme began at the end of May.

“We now need a different approach and we need it immediately.”