Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Birmingham local lockdown: Is Birmingham going into lockdown?

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Local lockdowns have sprung up across the UK in recent months, as coronavirus cases surge across the north of the country. The disease is poised to make a comeback in a second wave, and incidence has started running high across Europe. Birmingham is now amongst cities on the cusp of new lockdown measures.

Is Birmingham going into lockdown?

The latest NHS data shows bulging infections rates in Birmingham.

Rates now stand at 62.4 cases per 100,000, more than double the 28.1 reported the week before.

Birmingham avoided lockdown by the skin of its teeth a fortnight ago, saved only by a brief decline in infections.

But now the city is on the cusp of more severe restrictions once more.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said the latest infection rates could necessitate restrictions in the city and nearby Solihull by the end of the week.

He identified potential causes of the latest outbreak as “a result of socialising and household contact” and socialising among younger people.

Speaking to the Press Association, he added the regional rise also comes in the context of a gloomy national outlook and vigilant testing.

He said: “The critical message is everybody has a responsibility to follow the guidance.

“If they do not follow the guidance, we will, of course, be subject to very stringent restrictions preventing people enjoying the things they’ve been looking forward to.

“Thus far it (the virus) has concentrated in the younger age groups, that’s why we’re not seeing that much increase in hospitalisations and, God forbid, deaths.

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

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Mr Street added residents in the region should reasonably live within the national guidelines and without new restrictions, but compliance is waning.

He said: “If premises are doing what they should be doing and individuals are also following the rules, we should be able to live within the current guidelines.

“But it is very clear that is not happening, sufficiently well.”

Future restrictions for Birmingham would likely mirror those across the rest of the country, meaning a ban on indoor gatherings.

Elsewhere, people can still meet friends and family in public, in areas such as pubs or other outdoor venues.

Health secretary Matt Hancock most recently added Bolton to the list.

A rise in cases led the minister to impose a curfew on hospitality venues, which must close between 10pm and 5am each day.

The minister said the rise in cases came from “socialising by people in their 20s and 30s” and opted to curtail nightlife in response.

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