The region moved into Tier 3 – the highest level of restrictions – when the second national lockdown ended earlier this month and, following the first fortnightly review, the Government has today (Thursday) announced that these measures will remain in place for at least another two weeks.
Latest data shows there were 267.33 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 14 December. That means 703 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.
Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: "People have worked really hard to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but it still remains a clear and present danger.
“We managed to flatten the curve during the recent lockdown, but rates of infection are starting to creep up again. Hundreds of people are catching the virus each week and, tragically, it is continuing to claim lives.
"So, we all need to make sure we carry on doing everything we can to stop the transmission of Covid-19 by following the Tier 3 regulations, practicing Hands, Face and Space and being even more vigilant when we are out and about.
"We're also urging families to act with extreme caution over the festive period, when the Government will be temporarily relaxing restrictions around household mixing.
"This will be a particularly dangerous time for us all, and so I'd ask you – for the sake of yourselves and your loved ones – to please not mix with others this Christmas, unless it’s absolutely necessary."
Meanwhile, police are calling on people to continue adhering to the Covid-19 measures. Superintendent Simon Inglis of Wolverhampton Neighbourhood Policing Unit said: "We have seen a significant increase in the levels of compliance with the regulations across the city in the last few weeks which is really welcome.
"However, this is the most crucial period now and my ask is that the community continues in this vein in order that we can all get back to a ‘new normal’ as soon as possible.
"Our officers are as vigilant as ever and will continue to challenge those who are not complying with the regulations, especially when it comes to the organisation of gatherings and parties, as they pose a significant risk to the hard work and sacrifice carried out so far by so many.
"I know we can at times face criticism from some quarters for the role we are playing in this pandemic by enforcing the rules. However, the enforcement work we are doing today to prevent the virus spreading, helps to stop people ending up in hospital in 2 weeks’ time. All we ask is that you help us to help you by sticking to the rules which will allow us to ensure we are there when you need us."
Under the Tier 3 restrictions, which places Wolverhampton on Very High Alert:
- people cannot meet socially with anybody they either don't live with or are in a bubble with, indoors, in a private garden or in most outdoor places
- everyone who can work from home should do so
- hospitality settings like bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must remain closed except for takeaway, drive through or delivery services
- indoor entertainment and tourist venues must remain closed, as must hotels, B&Bs and guest houses, with limited exemptions
- people should avoid travelling outside of the area other than where necessary (for instance, for work or education purposes) and avoid public transport at busy times
- people can meet others in some outdoor places such as parks, the countryside or public gardens - but only if they do so in a group of 6 or less and practice social distancing (the 'rule of 6')
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Further details of the Tier 3 Very High Alert restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at Covid Alert.
People without symptoms of Covid-19 are being invited to be part of the mass testing programme now underway in Wolverhampton. Testing is available at the Civic Centre from 8am to 7pm weekdays and 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Free parking is available at St Peter’s Car Park for people having the test. Mass testing will also be available at the Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road West, from tomorrow (Friday 17 December). It will be open every day from 10am to 6.30pm except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Please note, mass testing is not available for people with symptoms of Covid-19, anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days or anyone who has been asked to self isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, a new, continuous cough and loss or change to a person’s sense of taste and smell. To book a test, visit GOV.UK or call 119. People can get tested within eight days of developing symptoms.