Birmingham added to coronavirus watchlist as Northampton becomes 'Area of Intervention'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn


Birmingham has been added to the Government's coronavirus watch list, as an ‘Area of Enhanced Support’, while Northampton has become an ‘Area of Intervention'.

Birmingham:

Local leaders and the government have agreed to initially make Birmingham an 'Area of Enhanced Support' following a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases over the last week.

This means that the area will benefit from additional testing, locally-led contract tracing and targeted community engagement.

Further discussions with local leaders are taking place to understand what additional measures should be taken to help manage the outbreak. 

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.

Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary

The numbers:

18-34

Over half of cases in the last week have been within the 18-34 age demographic.

30.2

The number of cases per 100,000 testing positive for coronavirus.

4.3%

Percentage number of people testing positive for coronavirus.


Is Birmingham heading for a local lockdown?

There are warnings that Birmingham could be heading towards a local lockdown if Coronavirus infection rates don't improve in the city.

Latest figures show that in the last 7 days cases have jumped from 225 to 362. 

ITV News Central has spoken to Dr Justin Varney about the possibility of Birmingham going into a local lockdown:

He said: "What we are seeing at the moment across Birmingham is a rise in cases over the last three weeks."

"We are seeing not just an increase in the number of people testing but we are seeing an increase in the proportion of people who are testing positive and that's across the whole of the city."

"When we talk about lockdown I don't think that we are going to see the Leicester or Manchester scenario - we are not at that level yet."

"Our rate is more like 25 per 100,000 and they were more 50 per 100,0000 when they went into lockdown."

"But what we do need is everybody to pay attention and start stepping up those actions that keep us safe and that's how we avoid going into a very restrictive environment we are trying to avoid."

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, has urged everyone to pull together to ensure the city tackles the rising numbers.

The rise in case numbers, although not currently on the scale seen elsewhere in the country, is extremely concerning – we all need to wake up to the severity of the current situation. Most people are still doing the right things – the basics such as handwashing, wearing face coverings in the appropriate places and keeping 2m apart wherever possible. We all need to keep doing this."

Cllr Ward
  • Dr Ron Daniels, Intensive Care Consultant, gives his reaction to Birmingham's change in status.

Northampton:

Northampton has become an ‘Area of Intervention' after the town has seen a marked increase in cases.

Local testing data and analysis from the Joint Biosecurity Centre shows this spike is almost solely down to an outbreak linked to the workforce at the Greencore Factory where nearly 300 workers have tested positive.

The factory will close voluntarily from today, and employees and their direct households will be required to isolate at home for two weeks. 

The Health Secretary will introduce regulations to ensure that this self-isolation period is legally enforced.

Anyone who leaves isolation prior to the two-week period ending without reasonable excuse will be subject to fines.

The numbers:

125.1

Number testing positive for Covid-19 per 100,000 people during the week ending August 13.


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