Birmingham added to coronavirus watch list as Northampton factory shut down – see full list of towns at risk of lockdown
BIRMINGHAM has officially been added to the coronavirus watch list after cases have spiked and a Northampton factory was ordered to shut.
Cases of coronavirus have risen rapidly with young people under the age of 34 making up the bulk of fresh infections.
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Cases in Birmingham have risen dramatically [/caption]
The rate of new infections in Birmingham has reached 30.2 cases per 100,000 and the percentage of people testing positive up to 4.3%.
Officials don’t know where the spike in cases has come from, so are sending in health teams to try and find the source.
Over half of the new cases in the last week have been between 18-34 years old, as fears grow of young people not taking social distancing seriously.
Birmingham’s director of public health, Dr Justin Varney issued a warning yesterday, saying: “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.”
It was also confirmed this lunchtime:
- Oldham residents will be told not to socialise with ANYONE outside their home to try and stop the spread of the virus
- A Northampton factory has been ordered to shut and everyone forced to isolate after a huge number of cases emerged
- Wigan, Rossendale and Darwen are to be released from the new rules
- In future MPs and local politicians will decide the boundaries for local lockdowns, not politicians in Whitehall – meaning areas with low cases will likely be exempt
Nearly 300 workers at the Greencore Factory in Northampton have tested positive for the virus, and the local infection rate hit 125.1 per 100,000 last week.
The factory will close from today and all employees and their direct households will have to isolate at home for two weeks.
The Health Secretary will introduce regulations to ensure that this self-isolation period is legally enforced.
The Department for Health said anyone who leaves isolation prior to the two-week period ending without reasonable excuse will be subject to fines.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said on Twitter: “Birmingham is in an extremely challenging COVID situation, and as expected the city has been added to the Government’s watchlist this afternoon.
“From handwashing and social distancing to wearing face coverings and avoiding mass gatherings, every individual must play their part.”
Watch list updated
- Northampton added as an ‘Area of Intervention’
- Birmingham added as ‘Area of Enhanced Support’
- Slough added as an ‘Area of Concern’
- Bedford is being removed following a drop in cases
- Wigan and Rossendale are being removed from the list following a drop in cases
- Nine wards in Blackburn and Darwen are also being removed
That means extra resources will be sent into these areas to boost testing and residents will see extra reminders of the importance of social distancing and hand hygiene.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today: “To prevent a second peak and keep Covid-19 under control, we need robust, targeted intervention where we see a spike in cases.
“The only way we can keep on top of this deadly virus is through decisive action led by the people who know their areas best, wherever possible through consensus with a local area.”
Full list of places with ban on indoor gatherings
- City of Manchester
- Parts of Blackburn with Darwen
- West Yorkshire:
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