Coronavirus expert urges Birmingham bars, restaurants and gyms to close

Lockdown restrictions are changing for Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell from Tuesday, September 15. Credit: PA Images

A leading Birmingham scientist has called for pubs, restaurants and gyms in the city to close now - or risk a health emergency. 

Professor Alan McNally, director of Birmingham University’s microbiology and infection institute, said the venues should shut, if only briefly, to stop the spike in coronavirus cases across the city. 

The Covid expert, who is a lifelong specialist in microbiology and infection and was the infectious disease lead at the Government’s first flagship Covid-19 testing facility, says the limited measures announced for Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell are not enough amid rising coronavirus rates.

Professor Alan McNally Credit: University of Birmingham

He described the family clusters that had triggered the new local measures as "the tip of the iceberg."


"We are now at a crossroads in the city. Schools are an absolute priority and to keep them open and protect them from Covid we have to reduce transmission and cases in the community.

"That means closing bars, restaurants, clubs and gyms again to reduce our incidence back to much lower levels.

"The limitation on household mixing (at home) is sensible.

"However the family clusters are potentially a tip of an iceberg - it's impossible that all of the infected people in Birmingham have not mixed beyond their families, and would have also used our local transport, bars and restaurants."

Professor Alan McNally

He had earlier tweeted about the national situation, expressing a similar view and pressing for more robust measures.


The coronavirus infection rate in Birmingham almost tripled in 7 days leading up to September 8th. Credit: ITV News Central

So, from Tuesday September 15, what can’t you do in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull?

  • Following the latest government guidelines, people won't be able to host or meet people they do not live with in their home or garden, unless they’re in the same support bubble.

  • Schools, workplaces and public transport remain open.


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