Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull under strict Covid-19 curbs
From Tuesday, Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull - cities with a significant Global Indian representation - will fall under the government's “areas of intervention”, with residents told not to meet with people from outside their households to control the spread of coronavirus.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the escalation for the region follows a continued rise in the infection rate. Under the stricter curbs, residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households and continue to follow the hygiene guidance including washing of hands and using face coverings.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street explained: "This decision has been made in collaboration with local leaders who are considering additional local measures to tackle the increase in the number of cases.
"So to emphasise, this is about mixing between households, it is not about prevention of schools, workplaces, transport, any of the other options - it is about household mixing."
Rule of six
The move comes in as the “rule of six” is imposed across the rest of the UK, restricting gatherings to just six and the prospect of a £100 fine on the breach of the conditions.
But in the West Midlands areas of intervention, the rules will extend to people not being allowed to:
* host people you do not live with, in your home or garden, unless they're in your support bubble
* meet people you do not live with, in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas, unless they're in your support bubble.
This does not apply to places of work, schools or childcare.
Leicester eases up
Meanwhile, easements in another city with a large Global Indian population - Leicester - will continue, with more businesses being able to reopen in the city.
Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres and indoor play areas (including soft play areas) will now be able to lawfully reopen but the ban on inter-household gatherings in private homes and gardens remains. The next review of these measures will take place by September 24.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Where targeted action has been taken, we are seeing signs of progress, and today's easements in Leicester are proof that the measures we are putting in place in collaboration with local councils have a positive effect.
“We will not hesitate to take further action if needed, and my appeal to you all is to get a test if you are symptomatic, stay at home if you are required to self-isolate, and to constantly think: hands, face, space. Only then can we avoid further restrictions, and return to a sense of normality.”