People in Wolverhampton are being urged to stay safe and stay home as the city moves to Tier 4 restrictions from tomorrow (Thursday 31 December).
It follows a rapid increase in Covid-19 infections across the country caused by a new, more contagious, strain of the virus.
The measures introduced by the Government mean:
- you cannot leave your home without a reasonable excuse (including for caring, education or work, if you cannot work from home; exercise and recreation, medical reasons, shopping for food and other essentials, or to care for others)
- you cannot meet other people indoors, unless you either live with them or they are part of your support bubble
- outdoors, you can only meet with one person from another household
- you should work from home if you can
- non-essential shops, personal care services like hairdressers, and leisure and entertainment venues must shut. Bars, pubs and restaurants remain closed
- you must not travel outside the area other than for legally permitted reasons
- if you are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable, you should not go to work and limit the amount of time you spend outside of your home
The Government has already introduced Tier 4 measures in other parts of the country following the discovery of a new and highly contagious variant of Covid-19.
Wolverhampton has seen a sharp rise in the number of cases of Covid-19, with latest data showing an infection rate of 469 people per 100,000 in the city.
Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "I said just before Christmas that it was only going to be a matter of time before other parts of the country – including Wolverhampton – would move into Tier 4. The risk of transmitting the virus remains very high and that’s why I was at pains to ask people not to mix with others on Christmas Day.
“Sadly, infection rates are continuing to rise, hospital capacity is reaching a critical level and it’s possible the new variant of Covid-19 is circulating in the city.
“The Government’s decision to move Wolverhampton and other areas into Tier 4 – which in effect is another lockdown – comes as no real surprise and the measures we now must follow are similar to those introduced during the second lockdown in November.
“It is vitally important that everyone follows the rules – especially ahead of New Year’s Eve tomorrow where you can’t mix with friends and family as many usually would.
“As with Christmas, this is short term pain for longer term gain. We’re working closely with the NHS on the roll out of the vaccine across the city and know there are better days ahead.
"The fight against coronavirus is a marathon, not a sprint – we’ve come so far and we really don’t want to fall at the final hurdle. So, no matter how hard it might be, we must all follow these Tier 4 measures so we can look after our most vulnerable residents and give ourselves the best possible chance of having a much better and brighter 2021."
John Denley, Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health, added: “Infection rates in the city have risen, but we know that our early approach to roll out rapid asymptomatic testing has helped find more people with the virus.
“We were testing up to 1,800 people a day in the week leading up to Christmas which is a fantastic achievement and one of the highest testing rates in the country – but we recognise it means our numbers will be higher than areas that don’t test as much.
"The people of Wolverhampton have done a tremendous job in adhering to the restrictions which have been in place over the last 9 months.
“An end to this pandemic is now in sight, but we're not there yet and so I ask you to stay safe, stay home and continue to follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance so that we can reduce the spread of this terrible virus, and save lives."