Birmingham Could Face Local Lockdown 'Within Days' Amid Spike In Coronavirus Cases

City officials and police urge the public to act now to prevent returning to the "dark days" of lockdown.

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Birmingham could be placed under a city-wide lockdown in a matter of days if coronavirus infection rates do not improve, officials and police have warned.

The UK’s second-largest city is “at a knife edge moment”, with latest figures showing the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 had risen to 30 cases per 100,000 this week, up from 22.4 the week before and 12 at the start of the month.

Birmingham city council leader, Ian Ward, urged the city to act now to prevent a return to the “dark days” of lockdown.

In a statement to Birmingham residents, he said a second lockdown ”will set our already-fragile economy back and that could mean more job uncertainty and further struggles to make ends meet for many.”

He added: “Most people are still doing the right things – the basics such as handwashing, wearing face coverings in the appropriate places and keeping two metres apart wherever possible.

“We all need to keep doing this. I understand that lockdown fatigue has inevitably set in for some and that the easing of restrictions means it is easy to take your eye off the ball.

“But we have to remain focussed. If we are forced to go back to the dark days of spring it will be because we haven’t collectively done our bit for the greater good of the city.”

Local police have also called on residents to adhere to social distancing and avoid gatherings.

Superintendent Gareth Morris told the public to “do your utmost to follow the guidelines as restrictive as they are, so we can once again be reunited with the people and things we love.”

In a statement, he said: “Many lockdown measures have been relaxed, but if new cases rise we will undoubtedly face the potential of stepping back into those restrictions. We all must do what we can to avoid another lockdown.

“The impact on people’s lives and businesses has already been so significantly affected by the national lockdown, that we must try and do all we can to prevent that occurring in Birmingham and taking us into a state of city wide lockdown.

Birmingham is set to feature on the government’s national watchlist, compiled every Friday, which would likely mean new restrictions and actions.

Dr Justin Varney, Birmingham’s director of public health, said the city had to “stand up and stand together on this”.

“What we do in the next seven days will decide if we go into lockdown or not. If we do it will be for at least two or three weeks, and that will be devastating.

He added: “We are at a knife-edge moment. The next five to ten days are crucial.”

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Dr Ron Daniels, an intensive care doctor working at hospitals in Birmingham City for University Hospitals Birmingham, said the “public shouldn’t panic” as “we are not seeing cases rising uniformly across the city of Birmingham”.

“The public in general should not be unduly alarmed. The most important thing is people at the moment are not coming into hospitals. So people don’t seem to be getting as unwell as they were.

He added: “To my knowledge, the number of people in critical care with Covid-19 across the University Hospitals Birmingham right now is two.”

Shabana Mahmood, MP for Ladywood in Birmingham, told HuffPost UK the prospect of a local lockdown will “obviously see a return of the huge challenges we all lived through at the height of the pandemic”.

She said: “We cannot afford the same mistakes the government made with the local lockdown in Leicester. We will need testing increased and enhanced massively – this needs funding, proper cooperation, and the Council taking a lead on delivery.

She added: “We must use language and information tailored to our communities, including the many multi-member and multi-generational households we have.”


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