Tougher local lockdown in Birmingham now 'likely'

Tougher local lockdown measures are now ‘likely’ in Birmingham and Solihull according to the local authority after a spike in cases of coronavirus.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said there had been “a very notable increase in Birmingham and Solihull” infection rates in the last few days.

He said the imposition of “additional restrictions” were now looking “likely” while stressing no final decisions had yet been taken.

“Everyone can see the numbers,” added Mr Street.

“That would be looking likely – and is in the context of a deteriorating national position, as well.”

In Birmingham, the infection rate in the week ending September 5 was 62.4 cases per 100,000 while in neighbouring Solihull it was 46.1, according to NHS Digital.

The announcement came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament the Government will not hesitate to take tough measures as the number of cases across the country surges.

He announced tough new rules for Bolton, where the worst rate of infection has been seen, with a curfew on hospitality businesses, a switch from eating to takeaway and a ban on visits to care homes.

There will also be a legal ban on people from different households socialising.

There are still restriction measures in place in parts of Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, Yorkshire and Lancashire with restrictions coming into force in part of Wales from 6pm today.

Mr Street said: “Thus far, it (the virus) has concentrated in the younger age groups, that’s why we’re not saying that much increase in hospitalisations and deaths.

“But if we don’t stop this it will translate into these elder age groups and we will have a very serious situation on our hands.”

He added the “simplest form of restriction would be city-wide”, adding that given the size of the current infection rate numbers further restrictions were now “very, very likely”.

Dr Giri Shankar, from Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales supports the restrictions which are being put in place by the Welsh Government and Caerphilly Council.

“These measures are essential to limit the spread of coronavirus and bring transmission under control.

“I would appeal to everyone in the Caerphilly area that if you have even the mildest of Covid-19 symptoms – a high temperature or fever, a new and persistent cough, or a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste – or even if you feel generally unwell with no explanation, to make use of the local testing units.

“We are now seeing a steady increase in cases in a number of communities across Wales and our investigations show that many of these have been transmitted due to a lack of social distancing.”

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