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Ban on visitors at home ‘highly likely’ as Birmingham lockdown looms

A ban on households having visitors round is “highly likely” today as the city battles to curb rising infection rates.

Sources have indicated a ban on home get togethers will be announced later this morning.

Whether that will apply across the West Midlands or be limited to hotspots – Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell – has been, we understand, the focus of frenzied discussions.

City and regional leaders are remaining tight-lipped ahead of the expected announcement by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Public Health England.

But reliable sources indicate, as predicted, that new restrictions are coming, with a focus on household gatherings.

Transmission rates between households, driven by extended families and friends meeting up at home, are the biggest driver of cases in the area.

Cases are going up in all age groups under 60, but most particularly among the 20 to 40 age groups.

Earlier this week, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street warned the problem was not just with workplaces, pubs and restaurants but also people socialising in other people’s homes, saying “private settings are an important part of this”.

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The city’s director of public health Dr Justin Varney has repeatedly urged people to halt the practice of gathering at home.

And the city council asked people to stop having any more than two people at a time in their homes, as a voluntary measure, when cases first began to rise.

However, the rise has continued, and grown inexorably, in the weeks since.

All eyes are on the region after the rate of coronavirus cases in Birmingham rose again to 85 cases per 100,000 people. That means the rate has nearly tripled in the four weeks since the city first went on the national watchlist as an area of concern.

Solihull has a high rate too – of around 50 cases per 100k – and Sandwell, another part of the West Midlands, is also on the watchlist alongside Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire.

One thing is for sure: outside the North West, where restrictions remain in place in areas like Bolton, the West Midlands is causing the government the most concern.




An updated national watch list will be announced this morning and Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull will all be on it.

Birmingham and Sandwell are both currently in the ‘amber’ category, listed as “areas requiring enhanced support”.

The “red” category above them features areas where additional, enforceable restrictions are in place – these are almost wholly in the North West.



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