Birmingham remains on coronavirus watchlist for second week

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Birmingham has remained on the Government’s official coronavirus watchlist for a second week despite a drop in covid-19 cases in the city.

There are no plans for a local lockdown there but this is still a potential outcome if infection rates rise.

Birmingham City Council’s leader Ian Ward said no-one should be complacent even though cases numbers were dropping and urged residents to continue following the rules designed to stop the spread of the virus over the bank holiday weekend.

The number of cases in Birmingham has fallen in the past week, with a rate of infection of 24.6 cases per 100,000, after it was added to the watchlist last Friday.

Sandwell remains on the list after a number of outbreaks in workplaces in hospitality outlets.

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Both Birmingham and Sandwell are designated as areas receiving “enhanced support” from the Government and agencies such as Public Health England.

In the wider West Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent has been added to the watchlist for the first time and has been categorised as an “area of concern”.

Cllr Ward said: “There are no proposals in place for a lockdown of the whole or any part of Birmingham as things stand.

“The numbers are heading in the right direction.”

But he said that cases could go back up again and numbers “could change rapidly”.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Despite the encouraging news today, there can be no complacency at all.”

He said he had been in talks with the Government throughout the week, adding: “If our numbers go against us, there would be further action.”

Of particular concern to the council is whether pubs and restaurants obey rules designed to control coronavirus, including taking the names and contact details of customers so they can be contacted if there is a risk they have been exposed to the virus.

Speaking at a press conference, Cllr Ward said: “Don’t be afraid to leave a pub or restaurant if you feel they are not complying with the correct covid guidance.

“If a pub or restaurant doesn’t ask for your details … move on, go elsewhere, because that premises is not keeping you safe.”

Birmingham City Council, the Department of Health and Public Health England have taken a series of measures designed to control the spread of coronavirus in the city.

The council will launch a local, enhanced coronavirus test and trace scheme by mid-September, it has confirmed, alongside a whistle-blowing hotline for residents to report any business, including bars or restaurants, which are not obeying the coronavirus regulations.

On Wednesday, a new set of rules came into force in Birmingham which enabled the city council to close down any business premises not obeying covid-19 guidelines.


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