Police issue warning as Birmingham expected to receive new covid-19 restrictions

11 September 2020, 13:54 | Updated: 11 September 2020, 13:56

A sharp uptick in infections has been recorded in Birmingham
A sharp uptick in infections has been recorded in Birmingham. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Police in the West Midlands have urged people to "take responsibility" with coronavirus restrictions as strict new rules are expected to be announced in Birmingham.

A spokesperson is due to reveal the tightened rules after the city of 1.4 million people saw a skyrocketing in its COVID-19 infections.

Prior to the official statement, West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson said he recognised the situation was "difficult for everybody" but warned people to "take responsibility" in line with the measures.

He also said there would be a "targeted" response after learning where the infection risk lies within communities.

It comes after the latest weekly rate up to 8 September revealed there were 78.2 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people across the city - putting it third in a national table of high infection rates, behind Bolton and Sunderland.

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This means a total of 892 people tested positive during the seven-day period and marked one of the highest rates in Birmingham since the pandemic's peak in April.

The seven days prior to this, however, recorded just over 30 cases per 100,000 people.

According to Dr Justin Varney, the city's director of public health, the huge increase is believed to be "linked primarily to private household gatherings" happening at the end of August and during the bank holiday weekend.

Flouting of social distancing and contact tracing rules in pubs, bars and restaurants has also been highlighted as a reason, while an increase in testing likely turned up more positive results.

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West Midlands mayor Andy Street said earlier this week that new restrictions were "very, very likely" as he warned younger people to "take responsibility".

His comments were in relation to recent data showing the biggest growth in cases being mostly among under-40 age groups.

Birmingham had already been moving up the watchlist having been deemed an area in need of "enhanced support" last month, and as health chiefs noted a day-on-day increase of infections.

In a bid to bring the rising transmission under control, Birmingham City Council then introduced tougher government-agreed measures that included a legally enforceable crackdown on businesses ignoring the rules.

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This resulted in two restaurants being sanctions for hosting larger gatherings than stipulated by the government's guidelines.

An asylum centre in the Edgbaston area was also given a direction order after 56 staff and residents tested positive for the virus in the city's largest recorded outbreak.

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