With coronavirus infection rates on the increase across the West Midlands, the leaders of councils across the region have joined forces to issue a rallying call to residents and businesses.

The councils are continuing to work together and have a collective confidence in the measures each area has in place – ensuring everything possible is being done to keep on top of the threat, which has not diminished since the onset of the pandemic.

Some issues are of immediate concern to council leaders include the enforcement of face covering use by supermarkets and other public venues and the collation of customer contact details by pubs, bars and restaurants, with an appeal for more consistency from these sectors.

The leaders have urged for support from Government to ensure testing is as widely available as possible, as testing is seen as critical to reducing the spread of the virus, and for the Government to be absolutely clear with businesses about what they must do in order to comply with the regulations designed to keep staff, customers and visitors safe.

Latest figures show there were an average of 16.38 cases per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over seven days up to 18 August, the same as the rate for the seven days up to 11th August but much higher than the rate a month ago. Rates vary across the region and are considerably greater in some places. 

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "We cannot afford to undo the progress we have made since the spring in the fight against Covid-19, but we’re now at a crossroads.

“There is a continued resolve for the seven West Midlands Councils to continue working in partnership to keep our communities safe.

“But we all need to step up and do our bit – if we fall ill with the symptoms, we must self isolate and we must get tested. There can be no ifs or buts on this.

“And we need the guidance from Central Government to people in our region to be as clear and simple as possible. It is now getting to the point where many people and businesses are confused and unsure about what they can and cannot do.

“If we don’t follow the basic health advice to keep washing hands, to wear face coverings, to keep 2m apart where possible and to get tested when we have symptoms, we will face more tragedy in the weeks and months ahead.

“More people will fall seriously ill, there will be more deaths and our economy will face another hammer blow, when it needs all the support it can get.

“We are living with Covid-19 and it isn’t going away soon, so we urge everyone to keep doing their bit to keep themselves, and everyone else, safe, and help up avoid a local lockdown.”

Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, a new, continuous cough and loss or change to a person’s sense of taste and smell. People with symptoms, no matter how mild, should immediately self-isolate and book a test by visiting NHS or calling 119.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will be asked to share information about people that have been close contacts recently.

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 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