BIRMINGHAM is currently on the Government’s coronavirus “watch lists” after a sharp rise in cases.
And now tough new lockdown restrictions are expected after the number of hospital patients with coronavirus doubled in a week. So what can we expect?
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No, Birmingham is not currently in local lockdown but Britain’s second-biggest city could face tough new restrictions soon.
Stricter measures are expected to be imposed later today, September 11.
The Government, regional health and local authority leaders have been in two days of talks.
According to NHS Digital data, the latest seven-day rate for the city to September 8 showed 78.2 cases per 100,000 with 892 cases over the period – among the highest in Birmingham since April’s peak.
For the previous seven-day period, the rate was just over 30.
It puts Birmingham third in a national table of local authority areas of highest infection rates, behind Bolton and Sunderland.
Bolton’s seven-day rate currently stands at 143 cases per 100,000, and Sunderland is on 84, according to data from NHS Digital.
Speaking of a potential lockdown in the area on September 10, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are seeing some sharp rises in cases across many parts of the West Midlands.
“And so we do take these decisions on a localised basis.”
There are currently 68 patients undergoing treatment across Birmingham, and seven of them, aged 40 to 75, are in intensive care in Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands hospitals.
Dr David Rosser, chief executive at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB), told Birmingham Live: “If I had a vote (about local measures) I would say to do something now.”
He added: “Even if we brought in some sort of social measures today to stop the spread completely we would still expect to see cases double in a week – those people have already got it, they just don’t know it yet.
“We have seen hospital admissions double in a week and I expect it to double in the next week again – it’s an exponential curve. We are in the foothills of that curve.”
Dr Mark Garvey, consultant microbiologist and deputy chief of infection prevention and control for the same trust, said cases have gone up from about ten around two weeks ago, to 23 last week, to 68 this week, of which 32 are actively infected.
He warned: “At our peak we had 708 inpatients at one time, of which about one in six were critically ill. We are seeing the same proportion now.”
The city’s director of public health Dr Justin Varney said the uptick in coronavirus cases was “linked primarily to private household gatherings”, at the end of August and across the bank holiday weekend.
He added that an increase in testing had also turned up more positive results.
Pubs, bars and restaurants flouting contact-tracing rules and social distancing, are also believed to be part of the problem behind rising rates.
On July 30, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that parts of Northern England would start to face new restrictions due to localised outbreaks.
“Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire & East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe,” he tweeted.
“The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing.
“So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas.”
At the moment, Leicester remains under limited lockdown restrictions, with residents awaiting news of the next review.
Greater Manchester and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire were thrown back into lockdown after new cases of coronavirus spiked.
Restrictions in Leicester and the North West also remain in place, while Luton is undergoing “enhanced support” from the government, meaning it is given additional resources including increased testing.
Some areas previously subject to local lockdown restrictions, including Leicester, parts of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Lancashire will see them relaxed next week.
However, lockdown restrictions were eased from September 2 in Burnley, Hyndburn, Stockport and parts of Calderdale as well as Kirklees and Bradford, as originally planned by the government.
Social gatherings with other households are now permitted in homes, gardens, pubs or restaurants, according to new government advice.
But Bolton and Trafford in Greater Manchester saw no lifting of restrictions – as councils insist that infections remain too high.
The Government’s lockdown watchlist was first published on April 23.
Leeds, Middlesbrough, Corby, Kettering and South Tyneside have been added to the government’s coronavirus watchlist in early September.
All cities saw a spike in coronavirus cases.
In Leeds, the Covid-19 case rate is now 32.4 per 100,000 people, with council bosses blaming young people for spreading the virus to different parts of the city.
The Government’s lockdown watchlist was first published on April 23 and was last updated on September 4.
3. Blackburn with Darwen