New local lockdown restrictions will ban residents in parts of the West Midlands from socialising with people from outside their households.
All the boroughs of Sandwell, Birmingham and Solihull will be affected by the new rules which will come into force from Tuesday. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street announced the Government’s new measures at a media briefing on Friday afternoon following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the region. The briefing was told schools and businesses will remain open in the affected areas but that residents will not be allowed to meet people from other households indoors or in private gardens.
Sandwell Council’s interim leader, Maria Crompton, made a heartfelt plea with residents of her borough to take the “killer” virus seriously.
She said, quote: “Like other areas, we have got a much higher rate than other areas at the moment. In the last seven days, we have gone from 140 cases, compared to 70 cases last week which were mainly in Smethwick and West Bromwich areas. A large proportion in Sandwell are between the ages of 20 and 40 years and those people feel they don’t have such a problem as everyone else so they can carry on partying and do everything that they want to do. But unfortunately, they can pick up things and take them back home and that is the concern.
“We have got a higher risk of contamination from within households. It is not from outside the household. You must try to keep to your household and do not go into other people’s homes or in fact their gardens.”
She added: “We have a huge system here to protect families but the message to families is that Covid-19 will and does kill. It can be fatal and if you don’t follow the rules then it will come and visit your family. You will know a family or a family member or someone else very close, very shortly [that could be affected]. I’m sorry if I’m blunt but we need to be blunt, people have got complacent and feel they can go and do whatever they need to do.”
According to NHS Digital data, the latest seven-day rate for Birmingham to 8 September showed 78.2 cases per 100,000 with 892 cases over the period – among the highest in the city since April’s peak. For the previous seven-day period, the rate was just over 30.
Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council, said the rise in the percentage of reported coronavirus cases includes “people of a white ethnicity”.