People in Wolverhampton are being reminded of the importance of staying at home and avoiding any relaxation in their behaviour as the fight against Covid-19 reaches a crucial point.

The national lockdown will begin to be lifted in the coming weeks, but people are being asked to ‘keep going’ and continue to exercise the utmost caution in order to keep Covid-19 under control.

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "We have now been living through this pandemic for 12 months. It was a year ago this week that the first Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Wolverhampton and that, very sadly, the first person passed away with coronavirus in our city.

“It has been an incredibly difficult 12 months, but we can now finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine roll out is going well and there is growing evidence that it is offering a very high level of protection against this deadly virus.

“Infection rates are also falling and less people are ending up in hospital because of Covid-19.

“But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that hundreds of people in Wolverhampton are still testing positive for Covid-19 every week, and so we must all continue doing all we can to stop the virus from spreading.

“You should continue to stay home as much as possible, because the less you go out the less likely you are to come into contact with the virus. If you do have to go outside, you must 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 Covid-19 test if you don't. Doing all of this is helping to stop the spread of Covid-19 and edging us closer to coming out of lockdown."

The first stage of the relaxation of lockdown happens on Monday (8 March) when schools will reopen to all pupils and people can enjoy outdoor recreation with one other person. However, even at this point, the stay at home order remains in place, meaning people can still only legally leave their house for a very limited number of reasons. 

Chief Superintendent Andy Beard of Wolverhampton Police said: "Alongside the Prime Minister's published road map it is really important that we all continue to comply with the current restrictions so that we can achieve the 4 step changes between now and June. 

"We will be working with the council to advise businesses and the general public regarding the revised restrictions for retail and hospitality once the details are known. Again, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the vast majority of people across Wolverhampton for their support."

Latest figures show there were 111.3 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 27 February. That means 293 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.

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 lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.