Tuesday, July 16

Birmingham in a local lockdown



Birmingham is being put in a local lockdown with a ban on households mixing after a worrying spike in coronavirus cases.

New restrictions will come into effect on Tuesday in Birmingham and the neighbouring boroughs of Sandwell and Solihull, affecting more than 1.5 million people.

They were confirmed after UK Government and regional health and council leaders held discussions over two days. The Health Secretary has said guidance that residents cannot socialise outside of their households in the city will become law.

Birmingham’s local lockdown restrictions were announced on Friday as new figures revealed the city has the highest rate of Covid-19 infection in England behind Bolton.

According to the latest data, the city seven-day infection rate was 85.4 cases per 100,000 people on September 8, up from 32 the previous week.

Cases have been rising in the city in recent weeks leading to speculation that new restrictions would be introduced.

The West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, announced the restrictions on household mixing in Birmingham and neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell boroughs.

Mr Street said he had been permitted to read out a statement headed “Ban on household mixing in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull”, with the agreement of Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who had been due to make the announcement.

The mayor said: “The following areas will now be escalated to an area of national intervention, with a ban on people socialising with people outside their own household.

The ban will take effect from Tuesday 15th September, but residents are advised to avoid household mixing before then as it has been identified as one of the drivers of transmission. He added that the bans applied to the whole of Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull.

In a weekly call with journalists, he said: This decision has been made in collaboration with local leaders who are considering additional local measures to tackle the increase in the number of cases.

He added: So to emphasise, this is about mixing between households, it is not about prevention of schools, workplaces, transport, any of the other options – it is about household mixing. Mr Street said the full Government announcement on measures, potentially affecting other areas of the country, would be made “later”.