Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health John Denley has welcomed the extension of the lockdown – saying it is a vital step in the country's efforts to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The Government announced last night that social distancing measures including the requirement for everyone to stay at home unless absolutely necessary – first introduced on 23 March – would be extended for another 3 weeks.

People must stay at home as much as possible and only leave the house: 

  • to shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • for one form of exercise a day, for instance a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of their household
  • for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home, or to take children to and from school if parents are classed as 'critical workers'

When out in public, people must stay 2 metres – or 6 feet – away from other people at all times, unless they are members of the same household. 

These measures should be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for people or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

Mr Denley said: "The steps everyone must take in response to the coronavirus emergency, the worst pandemic in living memory, are truly exceptional and unprecedented in peacetime.

“In only a few weeks, our normal way of life has been turned completely upside down. Schools, pubs, shops and businesses are closed, and many of us are confined to our homes. 

“I have been really impressed by the way the people of Wolverhampton have adhered to the social distancing measures, remaining at home unless absolutely essential and keeping at least 2 metres away from others when they are out and about. 

“Preventing the spread of coronavirus is a national effort and one we are all responsible for. We all understand what is at stake if we ignore the rules.

“The lockdown has started to show results in terms of slowing down the spread of the virus; if we lifted it now we would lose that progress and put more pressure on the NHS. Although it is very hard for everyone to keep going with the lockdown rules, we need to do everything we can to try to adapt so that we can keep on staying home and saving lives. 

“This means finding ways for lockdown to feel as ‘normal’ as possible in this extraordinary time. Being able to keep a routine, staying connected to others by phone or video call and knowing how to get help are important parts of how we adapt.

“Staying home and keeping a safe distance from others when we have to go out is as essential now as it ever was, and that's why the extension of the lockdown is a necessary step in our continuing fight against this disease."

Schools remain closed to all pupils except the most vulnerable children and those of ‘critical’ workers, as do all non essential businesses and public spaces. Public gatherings of more than 2 people are banned, except where they are from the same household or where the gathering is essential for work purposes. All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies, have been stopped. Funerals continue, but should only be attended by immediate family members.

To enable shoppers to keep their distance, retailers which have been permitted to remain open – including supermarkets and corner shops – have been encouraged to place limits on how many people can be in store at any one time and to ask customers to stand 2 metres apart when in store and whilst queuing. In addition customers are encouraged to pay using contactless to reduce the amount of cash being handled by staff. 

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Advice for everyone – Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.