Tougher Covid restrictions put on Birmingham after rise in infections

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Tougher Covid restrictions put on Birmingham after rise in infections

The West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, has announced tougher restrictions on household mixing in Birmingham, and neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell boroughs, after a rise in Covid-19 infections.

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 the 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.

Mr Street, addressing a weekly call with regional journalists on Friday, concluded the statement by saying: “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”.

The Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, said there had been a rise in percentage of coronavirus cases reported, including from “people of a white ethnicity”.

With 892 cases in the latest seven-day period, he said the rate was currently 78.2 cases per 100,000 people, adding there had been “an increase of hospital admissions with Covid-19 and an increase in cases in care homes”.

He added: “The spread appears to be primarily occurring through social interactions, especially private household gatherings, and workplaces where social-distancing is not being observed.

Cllr Ward said: “The city’s position now is that we have become an area of intervention in line with places such as Greater Manchester.”

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