People are being urged to remain vigilant as Wolverhampton – along with the rest of England – takes the first step on the road map out of lockdown.

All school children are able to return to the classroom this week, while limits on outdoor social contact are eased slightly from today (Monday 8 March, 2021).

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The fact that we are now able to take our first steps out of what we all hope will be the last lockdown is of course excellent news – but this is also very much a moment of heightened risk.

"The changes introduced today could very well have an impact on infection rates, and it is up to us all to do all we can to ensure that they continue heading in the right direction.”

From today:

  • all children in schools and further education settings can return to the classroom, many for the first time since December, supported by twice weekly testing of secondary school and college pupils. Parents and other household members are also encouraged to get tested regularly and secondary school pupils are required to wear face coverings unless exempt 
  • people can meet 1 friend outdoors, for instance for recreation or a drink - as long as they remain socially distant
  • care home residents can be visited by 1 nominated friend or family member indoors

Further changes are planned from 29 March onwards but, at present, all other rules remain the same and people should continue to stay home as much as possible. Full details are available at GOV.UK and COVID Alert.    

Councillor Jaspal continued: “We've seen a big drop in infection rates over the last couple of months – at the start of lockdown on 4 January, 2,723 people in Wolverhampton were testing positive for Covid-19 every week, while last week it was down to 177 people. This is thanks to the remarkable actions of everybody to prevent the spread of this virus.

"But we cannot let up so please continue to follow rules. Stay home as much as possible and, if you do have to go outside, practice Hands, Face, Space – keep washing your hands, wear a face covering over your mouth and nose indoors, and stay 2 metres away from others.

“When you are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, please make sure you get it, and remember to get PCR test if you have symptoms of coronavirus, or a rapid test if you don't. Doing all of this will stop the spread of the virus and help us successfully take this first step out of lockdown."

Superintendent Simon Inglis of Wolverhampton Police said: "There has never been a more important time to ensure the whole community sticks to the restrictions as set out by the Government.

“As we know, we will all be given more freedoms to meet and engage with others in the coming weeks, however it is crucial that this is done responsibly and only in line with the planned road map.

"Local police officers and staff are determined to help the city get back to the bright and vibrant place we know it can be. If that means challenging and issuing fines to those who don’t stick to the rules, then they will not hesitate to do this. 

"However, we hope that this will not be necessary and that the great levels of compliance we have seen recently continue to be upheld and, as a city, we can emerge from this pandemic as a safe confident place to live, work and visit; please ensure you play your part in making that vision a reality."

Latest figures show there were 67.2 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 5 March. That means 177 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7n day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.

More information on rapid testing for people without symptoms of Covid-19 is available at Coronavirus Testing. Rapid testing is not available for people who have symptoms of Covid-19, including a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, or people who have been told to isolate. Anyone with symptoms should immediately self isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Information about the vaccine can be found at Covid-19 Vaccine. Further details of the restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert