Birmingham heading for lockdown as coronavirus cases rise – what we know so far


The rate of coronavirus cases in Birmingham rose again on Friday – to 85 cases per 100,000 population. Worryingly, this is a staggering increase from 32 cases per 100,000 last week, based on Public Health England’s seven-day moving average.

With Birmingham on the national watch list, attention has now turned to the likelihood of restrictions.

Solhiull also has a high rate – of around 50 cases per 100,000 – and Sandwell, another part of the West Midlands, is also on the watch list alongside Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire.

One thing is for sure: Outside of the North West, where restrictions remain in place in areas like Bolton, the West Midlands are of greatest concern to the government.

But is Birmingham heading for a lockdown? That’s what we know – at least so far.

What is the situation in Birmingham?

Nearly 1,000 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Birmingham in the seven days leading up to September 7, according to new data from Public Health England.

A total of 975 cases have been recorded – the equivalent of 85.4 cases per 100,000 people, up from 32.0 per 100,000 the previous week (the seven days until August 31).

Birmingham now has England’s second-highest seven-day rate.

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Why have the cases increased?

Cases are increasing in all age groups under 60, but more particularly among the 20 to 40 age groups.

Earlier this week, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street warned that the problem was not only with pubs, bars and restaurants, but also with people socializing at other people’s homes, saying “private places are an important part of it ”.

“The younger population must take their responsibilities, think of their parents and grandparents.”

Dr Justin Varney, director of public health, says his greatest concern is evidence of private gatherings and celebrations and unsafe workplaces leading to the spread of the infection.

He also warned that carpooling between people from different households is an emerging problem.

So a lockdown has to happen… right?

It seems increasingly likely, with Mr Street’s warning the restrictions were ‘likely’ earlier this week, and telling the PA News Agency how ‘city-wide’ rules were probable.

Jess Phillips also told ITV’s Peston that a Birmingham lockdown seemed more and more inevitable.

The warning came on Wednesday, following the government press conference in Downing Street, in which Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, unveiled new limits on households across the country.


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What did the ministers say?

And just yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned the government would not hesitate to impose restrictions, lockdown rules and additional measures in affected areas.

He did, however, hint that he was trying to maintain lockdowns in concentrated areas – and refrained from committing to a West Midlands-wide lockdown, which would take into account the black country.

What is the situation in neighboring areas?

Solihull has also seen its rate skyrocket – and it is now one of the UK’s 20 worst-hit regions.

Cllr Karen Grinsell, deputy head of the council, said officials wanted to avoid imposing restrictions but “really, really needed” people to take the risks seriously and not let “Covid fatigue” set in.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), she said: “People have relaxed because the cases are not serious and it is mainly the younger population, but what we need to remember is that we have parents and grandparents to whom we could potentially pass it on. .

“And those who protected, we don’t want to expose them. “

In Sutton Coldfield, however, Andrew Mitchell (Against), MP for the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield and former Cabinet Minister, said the number of cases in his constituency was too low to warrant restrictions.

Mr. Mitchell: “As I understand it, the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield only has 28 out of 408 cases across the metropolitan area. Such low figures cannot justify additional constraints compared to those we already face. ”

What would foreclosure measures involve?

If a decision is made to impose further restrictions on Birmingham – beyond the new national restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday – an announcement is expected to be made on Friday.

Officials point out that even though the word “lockdown” has been used, it is likely that any new restrictions will be less severe than a general stay-at-home order.

The measures could theoretically range from restrictions on pubs and restaurants to serve only take-out, to additional limits on households, to a 22-hour curfew throughout the city.

We will see.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends virtual press conference in Downing Street on September 9, 2020

What is the situation in hospitals?

Birmingham hospitals are back on high alert after a dramatic increase in the number of coronavirus patients – 68 are currently in treatment.

And seven of them, aged 40 to 75, are fighting for their lives in intensive care at Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands hospitals.

Thirty-two in total are “actively infectious,” which means they have tested positive in the past fifteen weeks.

The rest are still treated after developing the infection earlier. They are between 20 and 95 years old.

What is the national “watch list”?

The “watchlist” is published weekly on a Friday by Public Health England on the website.

The watchlist highlights areas of concern across the country where the coronavirus is making a comeback and also indicates which places could face further restrictive lockdowns in the near future.

The official title of the report which includes the list is “Summary of Covid-19 Epidemiological Surveillance”.

The report includes data from a variety of sources: community, primary care, secondary care, virology, mortality surveillance, and sero-prevalence surveillance data.

And what is the situation at the national level?

New rules were announced by PM Wednesday at No.10.

Starting Monday, September 14 – when the new rules apply – it will be illegal to meet people you don’t live with in a group of more than six (unless you meet as a home or support bubble) .

Police will have the power to enforce these legal limits, including issuing fines (fixed penalty notice) of £ 100, doubling for other offenses to a maximum of £ 3,200.


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